Meeting with secretaries of Security Councils of CSTO member states

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with the secretaries of the Security Councils of the CSTO member states in Minsk on 8 June.

"Today the dialogue between our countries in the field of collective security is more relevant than ever. A lot depends on you," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

The President noted that such meetings have long gone beyond protocol meetings since the geopolitical situation requires prompt decisions.

Recently, the head of state met with the heads of the security agencies and special services of the CIS countries. "The heads of the security agencies and special services, as I am told, had a very effective conversation, a very important conversation. And to be honest, I'm happy about that," he said.

"The military and political situation is extremely tense but this is only the tip of the iceberg. At the heart of all hot conflicts is massive hybrid warfare against the key areas of our public life: economic, informational, biological, social, humanitarian and even spiritual. They are advancing on all fronts, and there is no free room left," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President noted that the situation is now tense everywhere: the Caucasus and Central Asia, Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states.

"The entire architecture of international and regional security, which has been formed for decades, is collapsing. You don't have to look far for examples. The conflict in Ukraine is one of many examples of how Western elites are throwing trillions of dollars into the militarization and destruction of states," the Belarusian leader said.

"Any of our meetings is not complete without discussing the situation in Ukraine. As an experienced person, I would just like to ask you not to look for some reasons now. Sooner or later we will talk about the reasons. But now the most important task is to stop the conflict," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

"Since we are on the same side with Russia, we have been designated as co-aggressor. I must say that the ‘co-aggressor’ proposed a peace process from the third day of the conflict or maybe from the first day. It started here, in Belarus," the head of state recalled. “We hosted three meetings and then they gave the command not to fly to Belarus. I know that for sure."

The peace talks were moved to Istanbul. A draft agreement providing for extensive concessions from Russia was put together, the President said. The heads of the delegations agreed on the document, but the negotiations stopped there.

"Why didn't they go further? Because, most likely, Ukraine did not make decisions then. There is no point of talking about it now. Today the West, which is fighting there (if it did not supply weapons and mercenaries, the conflict would have ended long ago), is waiting for the results of the counteroffensive (I talked to Vladimir Vladimirovich yesterday; our opinions absolutely coincide on this),” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, a large number of Ukrainian equipment have been destroyed recently. In addition, a large number of Ukrainian soldiers have died.

“Three days of the ‘counterattack’. What we see completely coincides with the information I received from the President of Russia. About three dozen Ukrainian tanks were destroyed – and this in three days. Defending is easier than attacking - you know it; 120 or 130 infantry fighting vehicles in three days. And the worst thing is that more than 2,100 Ukrainians died. 2,100! The losses on this side are estimated at a little more than 70. Here is the result of this attempted ‘counteroffensive’,” the President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the counteroffensive was a big disinformation on the part of Ukraine. “There is no ‘counteroffensive’ and cannot be. And if it really took place, here is the result of three days. And most importantly – silence continues for the fourth or fifth day. What does this mean? They have suffered a serious defeat, sat down and are thinking (in the West) what to do next,” the head of state said.

The President is convinced that there is no other way but negotiations. According to him, this is the position of the President of Russia. “Peace and only peace. But peace is not needed. The West is hell-bent not to lose its grip on Ukraine as it wants to subjugate Russia and wipe its feet on it. But this will not happen. You know Russians, you know us - we will not go down on our knees. Therefore, we should reach an agreement while it is still possible. Things will only get worse in the future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko warned.

“Robust weapons supplies (we see this here, being in this cauldron in the center of Europe), efforts to foment tensions and create confrontations as well as huge amounts of money that primarily Europe spends - the cause of this conflict goes beyond Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “It’s important for Americans to bring Europe to its knees. They’ll show them repercussions of introducing the euro against the dollar. This is also clear. The euro began to make inroads some time ago. Americans don’t need this. And money is the lifeblood.”

According to the President, that was the reason why the United States began to put pressure on Europe and now wants to pull it apart. “It seeks to fence it off from us. From the Baltic to the Black Sea through Poland, Ukraine. It did not work out in Belarus: there was a plan to build this cordon from Smolensk down to the Baltic. But now they are arming Poland and Ukraine. They want Ukraine to win. This is their big dream. This is their design,” the head of state said.

He drew attention to the fact that Poland ruined relations not only with Belarus, but also with Germany. And it is unlikely that Poland decided to demand WW2 reparations from Germany because Poland is so brave, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “Not because of that. Americans quietly (we also saw this) suggested: let’s pressure Germans. In fact, Germans are the driving force in Europe. Why do you think Brexit, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, came to be? Had Americans been interested in strengthening the European Union, they would have never given the go-ahead. But they tore off Great Britain, a country with a strong economy, political and defense capabilities, from the European Union even earlier, i.e. they need to rock this boat in order to dominate. They are well aware that the world’s fastest advancing regions after the United States are the European Union, China and our space, where we dared to speak,” the President explained.

“Therefore, speaking about the reasons, we need to look deeper. And we should give credit where credit is due: Russians responded promptly and said: well, these are your problems, but you should give security guarantees to us and Belarus. You saw how they responded to this request. Now they say: indeed, Russia demanded some piece of security paper. And, meeting with some of your colleagues, I ask them: well, Russia demanded some piece of paper, then why didn’t you give it? They could have done it. I mean proposals for maintaining security here, in the post-Soviet space and, above all, in Russia. They did not go for it,” the head of state recalled.

At the same time, he noted that the Russian special operation in Ukraine was a gift for the West. “They started using it to subjugate our region and then China. This is their ultimate goal,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

“And one more thing: workforce was released after the withdrawal from Afghanistan. It must be used somewhere. So far they [American troops] have not got involved into it, but if this continues, I’m sure it will be a matter of time. In fact, there are hordes of mercenaries there. Regular troops will soon be sent there unless we stop this conflict. We are ready for this,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President noted that the practice of using all kinds of unilateral restrictive measures and sanctions is becoming increasingly commonplace. "They didn't work. Obviously they didn't. Indeed, it's not easy, it's hard. But they didn't work. They must also understand this," he said.

"Sanctions have already turned from a tool to enforce peace and security into a new complex threat on a global scale. They doom entire regions to hunger, cold and poverty,” the head of state said. “You should be also concerned. Russia and Belarus see that the United States as sent numerous envoys, from Armenia to Tajikistan, and is beginning to put pressure on you not to cooperate with us. We see it."

This is why countering sanctions should be carried out comprehensively and by joint efforts, the President stressed.

"Neither Belarusians nor Russians want you to be sanctioned for cooperation with us. We don't want that, because we won't get anything out of it, while you will only lose. But we should start exploring this direction together as soon as possible (there are a lot of opportunities in life). The economy is one of the reasons. We must not lose this market," the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that it is difficult for post-Soviet countries to gain a foothold in other markets, even in Africa where we see the clash of interests of China, the United States and the European Union. "I'm not saying that you shouldn't work for the markets of the European Union, the United States of America, the Middle East, the Far East, the Indian, African and other markets. It is important to work there. But we must not lose ours. After all, we may leave and lose each other," the head of state said and urged to take care of the economy and not to rush.

During the meeting, Aleksandr Lukashenko touched upon the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“Azerbaijanis and Armenians are kin people. They are like two fingers on one hand,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President said that in previous years he had put a lot of efforts into the settlement of the conflict between the parties, trying to establish cooperation between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“Things have become more complicated today. We need to sort out the situation. In this case, of course, I support Nikol Vovayevich [Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia], understanding that all the recent developments have fallen upon this power, upon him. Now we need patience and attempts to find a solution that will benefit both Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said.

According to him, the secretaries of the CSTO Security Councils should also make their proposals, as they are not bystanders in this situation. “You are our main assistants on defense and security issues,” he said.

Belarus is presiding in the CSTO in 2023. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus will be doing its best to help Armenia and Azerbaijan settle the disputes. The President stressed that the conflicts in the CSTO area, especially the armed ones, should be solved. “We cannot calmly watch conflicts taking place in the CSTO space. We cannot walk away from them. They are complicated. These countries are our brothers: we used to live as one state. Therefore, the conflicts must be resolved,” the head of state concluded.

"I will soon meet with the Russian President. I will definitely brief him about our meeting. He knows I'm meeting with you today. He has a meeting with the prime ministers tomorrow [CIS Heads of Government Council is meeting in Sochi these days]. We will discuss all these issues and try, perhaps, to offer you some practical ideas. But I urge you to put forward reasonable, sensible initiatives," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"I also urge not to quarrel with each other. We will have time and opportunity to have many quarrels: you see how they are trying to pull us apart. I will not go into specifics," the Belarusian leader added.

According to the head of state, the information field has become a vulnerable element of the international security system. “You can see that even in Ukraine an information and psychological war is taking the first place,” he said.

“You can probably know who destroyed the Kakhovka HPP. They say guilty mind is never at ease. Who was the first to throw accusations? It is clear that Ukraine had to disguise its three-day counteroffensive, in which almost 100 armored vehicles were destroyed and over 2,000 people were killed. That is why they are talking about Kakhovka, and not a word about their losses during the counteroffensive. Everything is seen, however,” the head of state said.

“You can see what a cautious position the USA has taken: ‘We cannot yet say who did it. We need to conduct an investigation.’ One wonders why?” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

The President emphasized the importance of counteracting information and psychological operations and offered to share Belarus’ best practices in the area, adding that Belarus has been active cooperating with the Federal Security Service of Russia on the issue. “In order to fight back, we need to put forward our agenda,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“CSTO countries are in the firing line of this pressure and dangerous information weapons, which have been always creating problems for us inside,” the Belarusian leader said.

 He mentioned the recent events in Kyrgyzstan, where there was an attempt to stir up the situation inside the country, but the authorities stopped it in time. “Well done! They coped with it. They nipped it in the bud, and did not let it spread. They drew conclusions from history. Good job! I pay my respects to them.”

“You see, they are trying to stir up the situation... Leave Kyrgyzstan alone! The country is rising from its knees. Let the country develop. Who does it create problems for? Nobody. They continue their attempts to undermine the situation though. Do you think Kyrgyzstan has been chosen for no reason? No. They are using it to get to Kyrgyzstan again, like they are using Russia to get to China. Pay attention to this. They will not let Kazakhstan alone,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state urged to improve the CSTO crisis response system: "We need to build and fine-tune the crisis response system. This is the task for our special services and law enforcement agencies."

According to the President, the heads of the security councils of the CSTO member states play an important coordinating role in this matter. "This is your job, your area of responsibility," he continued. “Please make proposals for approval by the heads of state. I don't think there will be any red tape here."

"Taking into account the large-scale transformation of threats, we need to think about the concept of a new collective security strategy of the CSTO for the period up to 2035," the head of state said.

The current document was adopted in 2016 and is designed to run until 2025.

"I think that the Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils and the CSTO as a whole need to start working on harmonizing approaches and developing appropriate proposals for the future security architecture of the Eurasian continent. This is the most important task," the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the voice of the CSTO countries will be heard if they present a united front and propose a peaceful and fair agenda in the Eurasian region and involve the SCO and the CIS in this process. "Belarus, as the CSTO chairman, is ready to make every effort to strengthen our organization and collective security in its area of responsibility," he said.

The President proposed to use, if necessary, the possibilities of the Belarusian chairmanship "to convey to the heads of state and discuss the most important security matters."

The President proposed to conduct a comprehensive review of the legal framework of the CSTO, the Union State, and the EAEU. “We need to get a clear idea about what we need and what we don’t. We need to remove everything that cannot work and will never work, and leave the main things. We need to go back to fundamental documents, write down provisions that will be legally binding and agree on how to act in various situations, how to respond to various conflicts,” the Belarusian leader suggested. In his opinion, this would be a great helping hand in resolving conflicts like those between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. “We need to foresee all developments taking into account the reality of today. And we need to achieve solid agreements,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

In particular, he announced his intention to suggest to the President of Russia drafting a program of action, a kind of internal development plan. “You remember the times of the Soviet Union: we were under pressure, no one liked us, they tried to strangle us. But we did very well and were self-sufficient despite being largely cut off from the rest of the world. We should understand that we need to develop this space that includes Belarus and Russia, we need to become self-sufficient, so that no one will try to put us on our knees using the dollar or some other currency. We need to work out a plan for the internal development of our space, primarily Russia and Belarus, since we ended up in the same boat,” the head of state said.

“So far every time we do something, we factor in the East or West in our development plans like we cannot live without them. It is necessary to use the best practices of the past to make sure that our countries will live a normal life in the future. In fact, we have a common economic market and even a common defense space,” the President said.

"Folk wisdom says: one soldier does not make a battle. Only unity makes us stronger. I am confident that the motto of our presidency ‘Through solidarity and cooperation to peace and security’ meets the interests of all our states," the President concluded.