/ News

Belarus' commitment to integration, with focus on national interests emphasized

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus will remain committed to integration processes while safeguarding its own interests, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Stanislav Zas on 5 March, BelTA has learned.

“Since Belarus is presiding in all integration bodies this year, our country will do it with dignity,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized. “As before, we will remain committed to integration processes, including in the military sector, while safeguarding our own interests. You know who pushes republics located around this integrator to this super pragmatic position.”

According to the president, it is essential to look out for Belarus' interests in all integration associations. In his words, right now these interests are absolutely in sync with the interests of neighboring countries, especially CSTO members. “They are in sync with the interests of Russia, other CSTO members. And they don't really contradict the interests of Ukraine, our main southern neighbor. At least, we have been doing and will be doing everything for peace and accord in Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “This is our position stemming from the mentality of Belarusian people.”

Russia will host the CSTO summit in 2020. In this regard, the president asked for information about the agenda of the forum and about the efforts to promote Belarus' proposals regarding the development of the organization. In particular, Belarus is advocating for strengthening the authority of the CSTO, expanding its interaction with other associations. And the implementation of the resolution concerning the legal status of a CSTO partner and a CSTO observer, which was initiated by Belarus, can be very useful here. “What is the progress on the matter? It would be great to handle these issues at the next summit,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state also asked Stanislav Zas about the organization of work at the CSTO. “If any personnel decisions are needed, please tell me, and I will initiate them at the next meeting. I will discuss this topic with Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], other presidents to have a clear picture. If the secretariat continues to work like before, the Collective Security Treaty Organization will do the same. Neither the situation nor the time permits procrastination,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Before speaking about the operation of the CSTO, Belarusian Stanislav Zas shared his impressions about the first business trip to his home country. He said it was very unusual for him to come to Belarus as a guest. “Frankly speaking, I am a bit homesick. I am not used to these realities yet,” the CSTO secretary general said.

CSTO countries will hold several joint events this year to rev up efforst against collective security challenges and threats. One of them is the traditional anti-drug operation “Channel”. It will take place in two stages: police are planning to contain the “northern flow” of drugs from Afghanistan and take measures to prevent the spread of synthetic drugs. Headquarters will be located in Dushanbe and Saint Petersburg. Besides, the schedule includes operations to prevent illegal migration and cybercrimes also known as “Illegal” and “Proxy”.

A number of exercises will take place within the framework of a plan of joint training of administrative bodies and collective security forces. Armenia will host the headquarters exercise “Interaction”, the special exercise involving intelligence forces “Search”, and the special exercise involving the supply and technical maintenance division of the CSTO Collective Forces “Echelon”. Kyrgyzstan will host the exercise of the rapid response forces of the Central Asian region “Frontier”. Belarus will host the headquarters exercise involving the CSTO peacemaking forces “Inviolable Brotherhood”. A plan of events also includes the special exercise involving rescue divisions of the Emergencies Ministry and the special tactical training exercise involving special operations forces “Cobalt”.