MINSK, 3 April (BelTA) - Nuclear weapons deployment in Belarus is a forced and purely retaliatory step in response to the unfriendly actions of the Western bloc, Belarus' Ambassador to the United Nations Valentin Rybakov said at the UN Security Council meeting on the threats to international peace and security on 31 March, BelTA has learned.
Belarus is a consistent advocate of the process of nuclear disarmament non-proliferation. The contribution of Belarus in nuclear disarmament is clear and indisputable. Its significance has has been repeatedly confirmed in numerous documents agreed in bilateral and multilateral formats. In 1993 Belarus made a conscious choice to renounce nuclear weapons and acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, becoming the first state in the former Soviet Union to voluntarily renounce the possibility to possess nuclear weapons without any preconditions or reservations,” the diplomat said.
In December 1994 the United States, Russia and Great Britain signed a memorandum on security guarantees in connection with Belarus' accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and assumed obligations to guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belarus. They also committed to refrain from any measures of political and economic coercion. For a long time Belarus has been subject to unprecedented political, economic, financial and informational pressure, which is a direct violation of the Budapest Memorandum, Valentin Rybakov said.
“Trade, visa, banking and other bans and restrictions have been imposed on the government, legal entities and individuals of Belarus by the United States, the United Kingdom, their NATO allies, as well as the European Union states. Such bans and limitations amount to a direct and gross interference into the domestic affairs of a sovereign state. They have a clear aim - to change the geopolitical course of the country and to change the domestic political configuration in Belarus,” he stressed.
Unilateral coercive measures in politics and the economy are accompanied by a build-up of military capabilities in the territory of neighboring NATO member-states in the immediate vicinity of the borders of Belarus.
“Given these circumstances and the legitimate national security concerns and risks arising from them, Belarus, consistently and absolutely transparent to its neighbors and the entire international community, has taken on compelled actions response to develop its own defense capabilities. These actions are taken exclusively in response and are aimed at strengthening our own security and defense capabilities,” Belarus' permanent representative said.
Valentin Rybakov noted that the cooperation of Belarus with Russia, its main military and political ally, towards strengthening defense capacity and national security is carried out in stringent compliance with international law.
“The training by Russia of Belarusian pilots capable of operating aircraft carrying specific munitions, the appropriate modernization of such aircraft, as well as the possible deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus are also exclusively and compelled reaction to the challenges and risks facing the Republic of Belarus. These measures are undertaken in strict compliance with the provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Russia retains control over nuclear weapons as well as the technology,” the head of the Belarusian diplomatic mission said.
According to the treaty, nuclear weapon states must not transfer nuclear weapons as well as control over such weapons to anyone, while non-nuclear weapon states must not accept nuclear weapons as well as control over such weapons.
Valentin Rybakov pointed out that Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko addressed the Belarusian people and the National Assembly on 31 March. The head of state was frank and very detailed in answering all the questions, including the plans to strengthen the security and defense capabilities of Belarus. In his speech Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that this was neither blackmail nor intimidation. Belarus is not going to attack anyone first, but will respond adequately, using all the available capacity to any external aggression.
“Such cooperation between Belarus and Russia in the area is nothing new when it comes to military cooperation between non-nuclear and nuclear states, which is carried out within the framework of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. NATO has long had a practice of so-called nuclear sharing missions. A number of aircraft of the alliance member countries have been certified to fly with nuclear weapons. The training of flight personnel for such missions is underway, and relevant joint exercises are carried out, too. Moreover, a number of European NATO members (Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkiye) possess about 150 units of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons and more than 250 aircraft have been prepared for their possible use,” the Belarusian diplomat pointed out.
He emphasized that Belarus was a staunch supporter of constructive and respectful dialogue aimed at strengthening regional and global security alike, multilateral mechanisms of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, including in the nuclear realm. “Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has repeatedly and publicly called for such a broad multilateral dialogue in the spirit of San Francisco,” Valentin Rybakov said.
“Regarding the circulation of the Security Council document through Albania, if you want to turn the Security Council archives into a garbage bin, you have the right to do so. You are submitting documents of private persons who represent no one but themselves exclusively, and who are fully financed by you, the Western sponsors. Maybe it's time for the taxpayers of these countries to ask their governments what sums are spent on the so-called Belarusian opposition, who pays specifically, from what sources. Perhaps you are so rich that you can spend such sums of money on the fugitive citizens of Belarus, rather than addressing your own problems of your countries,” Belarus' representative said.
“We thought of something else: we could, for example, provide Albania with a transcript of a conversation between some grandmothers sitting outside their front door, whom we would ask to talk about international security. I assure you, such a document would be of no less value, if not more valuable than the one you presented. By the way, it is a great example of how fully dependent countries behave in the Security Council. This is just another reminder to all UN member states to be careful with approaching your decisions when voting in non-permanent Security Council elections. In this regard, I would like to recall once again about the elections to the Security Council that will take place this June and the artificially created politicized competition in the Eastern European group,” Valentin Rybakov summed up.