Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with participants of CIS Defense Ministers Council session

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It is important to enhance the defense potential of the Commonwealth of Independent States in conditions of the complicated geopolitical situation in the international scene. President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement at the meeting with heads of the delegations taking part in the session of the CIS Defense Ministers Council in Minsk on 5 June.

“This year Belarus presides over the Commonwealth. This is why we believe that every event that contributes to stronger authority of our integration association and further advancement of cooperation between the member states in all spheres is important,” said the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the Commonwealth of Independent States had created favorable conditions for strengthening multilateral mutually beneficial relations that meet the national interests of each state. For instance, the latest session of the CIS Heads of Government Council discussed the expansion of economic cooperation, mutual trade and more advanced manufacturing cooperation. “Massive attention in the CIS is paid to the expansion and enhancement of interaction in social, cultural, educational, scientific, informational spheres and other ones. We combine efforts in the fight against international terrorism, transnational organized crime, the illegal turnover of narcotics, consequences of man-caused catastrophes and natural calamities,” remarked the head of state.

According to the President, the practice of holding political consultations to discuss key matters of international politics and international problems of mutual interest is an important consolidating factor.

“Along with political, economic, and humanitarian components of cooperation the supreme bodies of the Commonwealth pay close attention to matters concerning the defense ability and security of our countries. In the present difficult geopolitical situation in the international scene this facet of integration is particularly important for the stability of the states and sustainable development of the Commonwealth,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The President remarked that the implementation of the concept to guide the military cooperation of the CIS states till 2015 had given a new impulse to the improvement of interaction between the CIS states. The concept is a logical continuation of the policy aimed at preserving and developing existing forms of joint efforts and finding new ones. In essence the concept has sketched out the future model for multilateral cooperation in security matters. “Matters of practical cooperation are at the forefront now. Instructions of the CIS Heads of State Council should be fulfilled in a timely and effective manner. The signing of documents is but the first step, the beginning of your daily work. It is necessary to practice mechanisms of cooperation, seek effective ways to confront emerging threats and you must agree that there are many of those along our borders. Let alone the internal threats that represent interest for the defense ministries, too,” believes Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The Belarus President stated that the efforts exercised by the CIS Defense Ministers Council to improve the foundation of military cooperation always find support among the supreme charter bodies of the organization. “It indicates that we support the policy for further comprehensive development of the Commonwealth, the enhancement of its defense potential, the authority and significance of our integration association,” said the President.

“This point of view is upheld not only by Belarus, but many heads of state, who think about tighter integration, tighter cooperation in the military political sphere in the CIS. Regardless of whether we want it or not. If we don’t, then life will force us to cooperate within the framework of military organizations more tightly. The massive instability along our borders testifies to that,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko. “Someone may not like too tight cooperation like cooperation within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, someone may like to be more independent, but the things that happen around the globe force us towards tighter military cooperation”.

According to the President, Belarus-Russia interaction within the framework of the Union State is an example of such cooperation and tight integration. “We have virtually created a common army. And if, god forbid, something happens, we will be absolutely united and know what to do. We are not afraid of that, we have been cooperating like that for more than 20 years and we have lost no independence. The creation of the united air defense system is an example of that. This cooperation should achieve even deeper integration,” said the head of state.

“Belarusians and Russians have no secrets to hide from each other. If we lack something and cannot achieve something, you know that Russia has its share of problems, too, we always just urge Russia to pay attention to what is going on in Belarus,” remarked the President. “We ask and demand them to supply the new armaments that exist in the Russian army. It empowers us to act uniformly with our Russian brothers as an equal partner. We have a common defense space”.

“It would be desirable for the integration processes to go faster, at least up to the level of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. It would be a serious step but for now we do what we can,” concluded Aleksandr Lukashenko.

On behalf of the CIS Defense Ministers Council Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu remarked that the sides have yet to accomplish a lot to reach the necessary level of security in the CIS.

He said that the Minsk session of the CIS Defense Ministers Council was a milestone event in the promotion of tight partnership in defense matters.