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Belarus, Russia to set up task group for joint exploration of Antarctica

MINSK, 31 July (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia will set up a joint task group for the implementation of the provisions of the current bilateral agreement on cooperation in Antarctica, BelTA learnt from acting head of the national polar research center, head of the Belarusian Antarctica expedition Aleksei Gaidashov.

The decision to set up a task group was taken at an extended working meeting of Belarus’ ministerial commission on Antarctica with the participation of Russian representatives.

According to Aleksei Gaidashov, the task group will include specialists from both the sides, each from every fundamental area – science, environment, regulatory activity and logistics. The group will consist of eight people.

The agreement stipulates the main principles and mechanisms of joint research and exploration of Antarctica. The document also envisages implementation of research programs by Belarus and Russia as well as the development of a system of environmental measures for Antarctica.

Attending the meeting on Russia’s behalf were representatives of the Russian Antarctic expedition. Belarus was represented at the meeting by members of Belarus’ ministerial commission on Antarctica, representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the National Academy of Sciences, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and Belarusian State University.

The agreement on cooperation in Antarctica was signed by the Governments of Belarus and Russia in St. Petersburg on 15 March and approved by Council of Ministers’ Resolution No.484 of 14 June.

Belarus plans to build its polar station in Antarctica by 2018.