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29 May 2018, 17:33

Belarus' chances of acquiring consultative status under Antarctic Treaty viewed as high

MINSK, 29 May (BelTA) - The founders of the Antarctic Treaty see the chances of Belarus to acquire the status of consultative party as high, Aleksei Gaidashov, head of the 10th Belarusian Antarctic expedition, told the media, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus stands out among other countries who are planning to obtain the status of a consultative party under the Antarctic Treaty. Now there are 28 countries that will apply in the next few years for that status. On the sidelines of the forum which I attended recently, all the founders of the Antarctic Treaty, namely the heads of 12 delegations, welcomed our positive momentum, progress, the desire to work in Antarctica observing established rules. So they assess our chances of getting the consultative status as high. We aspire to this. It is our task for the next two years,” Aleksei Gaidashov said.

He noted that this year Venezuela applied for the status of the consultative party under the Antarctic Treaty but was denied. Among the reasons were the lack of structured scientific program in Antarctica, expeditions organized independently, scientific publications on Antarctica. If we talk about Belarus, we have it all. We meet all the requirements,” he noted.

The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus filed an application to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic studies for an associate member. “This too will have an impact as we apply for the status of consultative party under the Antarctic Treaty. The National Academy of Sciences is sending a delegation to Switzerland where we will continue to defend our application. There are reasons to believe that they pass a decision in our favor,” Aleksei Gaidashov said.

Alexander Sukalo, Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, added that Belarus continues to build stations in Antarctica and plans to start conducting year-round scientific observations on the ice continent in the next few years. “Belarus has already conducted ten Antarctic expeditions. I would like to highlight that our polar explorers conducted lidar, terrestrial and deep-sea research. The information we received is very important for the analysis of the climate change and other challenges. Our data is used in the NASA catalog,” he said.

On 29 May the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus hosted a meeting of the country's scientific community with participants of the 10th Belarusian Antarctic expedition. The Belarusian explorers reported on the results of its work and presented a film about the expedition.

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