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Tight international cooperation valuable for Belarus border service

MINSK, 1 August (BelTA) – Joint border operations allow fighting criminals and trespassers together in addition to making international cooperation stronger. The opinion was voiced by Vasily Gedko, Deputy Head of the Central Operations Office of the State Border Committee of Belarus, on 1 August, BelTA has learned.

The official said that the Belarusian side highly appreciates the tight cooperation with other countries in matters of border security, treasures the experience acquired through joint operations and believes their results are rather essential. Vasily Gedko also underlined that this kind of cooperation is particularly important in view of Belarus’ intention to host a world ice hockey championship in 2014.

Results of the joint border operation Zapad 2013, which was designed to suppress criminal activities that cross the external borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the northwestern and western directions, were summed up in Minsk on 1 August.

The joint special border operation Zapad 2013 was held on 1-25 June 2013 following the decision of the 68th session of the council of the chiefs of the border services of the CIS member states. The operation involved the border services of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, who worked in association with the border services of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and the European border agency Frontex. The sides carried out a set of measures to consolidate efforts of border services and law enforcement agencies for the sake of improving the security of state borders. Coordinated investigative and preventive measures were taken to detect, prevent, and suppress criminal activities across the state borders and in bordering areas. Apart from that, the coordination of the personnel and materiel involved in the operation was practiced. The sides also shared their best practices and improved ways for coordination and interaction between the border services for the sake of ensuring the border security collectively.

The operation netted 136 border trespassers, 609 violators of border-crossing regulations, 985 violators of regulations on restricted access to border areas, 155 illegal migrants, and six people on the wanted list. About $500,000 worth of contraband was seized and fines worth nearly $90,000 were imposed.

For the sake of enhancing the external borders of the CIS member states from the side of Belarus and from the sides of bordering countries during the operation the Belarusian border service and the Lithuanian border service staged a joint border operation Regime at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border on 5-12 June.

BelTA has been told that the measures that have been carried out have allowed improving the effectiveness of border guarding in the selected areas, actively counteracting organized crimes and other kinds of illegal activities, and responding adequately to changes of the situation in a timely manner.