MINSK, 13 December (BelTA) – The Global Security and NATO in 2019 seminar took place in Minsk on 12 December, BelTA learned from the organizers.
The international expert forum was attended by representatives of state-run and public organizations of Belarus, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, diplomatic missions, domestic and foreign experts in international security. The seminar was opened by Chairman of the Board of the Foreign Policy and Security Research Center Andrei Rusakovich, who stressed the importance of this annual event to discuss topical issues of international security.
In his welcoming speech, Vladimir Bespaly, Chief Advisor of the State Secretariat of the Security Council of Belarus, said that the Minsk seminar had become a good tradition. He stressed that Belarus borders on NATO member states, and therefore interaction with the North Atlantic Alliance is important to ensure international security and reduce tensions. The representative of the State Secretariat of the Security Council stressed the need for mutual respect between the parties for effective cooperation.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Belarus Manfred Huterer stated that the international seminar is part of the cooperation program that NATO has been implementing in dialogue with Belarus. The ambassador believes that the global situation has become even more tense and unpredictable than it was during the Cold War. However, according to him, NATO is making efforts to prevent further escalation of international tensions. Manfred Huterer also emphasized the need to strengthen international dialogue at all possible levels, with a focus on preventive diplomacy.
Representative of NATO's Public Diplomacy Division Petr Lunak addressed the seminar participants with a proposal not only to discuss the issues but also to seek answers to them. He named the erosion of the arms control regime, one of the pillars of which was the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, as one of today's challenges. A key feature of NATO, he said, is its ability to adapt to new challenges since the end of the Cold War. According to the NATO representative, the organization does not plan to deploy short and intermediate range missiles in Europe.
The NATO representative also focused on the relations with Belarus. He mentioned that since 1995 the country has been participating in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. Dialogue on a number of security issues is the basis for the partnership between Belarus and NATO. According to Petr Lunak, today both sides are willing to stay committed to mutual obligations. He added that NATO is ready to assist Belarus in its peacekeeping initiatives.
Acting Head of the International Security and Arms Control Department of the Main Department of Multilateral Diplomacy at Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vasily Pavlov expressed concern about a complicated situation in international security. “Trust is replaced by confrontation, while dialogues are replaced by accusatory rhetoric,” he said. Vasily Pavlov stressed the need to establish open dialogue between Russia and NATO. The representative of the ministry said that Belarus had accumulated positive experience of cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance, and mentioned the project to eliminate anti-personnel mines in Belarus as an example.
Vasily Pavlov also spoke about the existing potential cooperation areas between NATO and Belarus in counteracting terrorism and the fight against drugs trafficking. He said that Belarus would appreciate the invitation of the country's observers to the NATO exercise in 2020. According to Vasily Pavlov, the implementation of decisions regarding international security will benefit everyone.
Experts stressed the importance of establishing a dialogue between representatives of the various military and political blocs in Europe and the need to jointly seek answers to international security challenges.
Photos by the organizers of the event