H.E. Mikhail Khvostov
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
at the EAPC Foreign Ministers Meeting
Delivered on the Minister's behalf by
H.E. Ambassador Sergei N. Martynov,
Head of Mission of Belarus to NATO
Mr. Chairman, Ministers,
While a threat of military aggression in its traditional form is, hopefully,
a thing of the past in Europe, other security challenges in the euro-atlantic
area have presented themselves and demand our urgent attention and action.
The terrorist attacks of September 11 showed a shocking and unacceptable
price of lack of prediction and preparedness. Thus, the subject of current
security challenges for today's meeting is more than topical.
Belarus stands firmly in support of concerted efforts of the EAPC states
toward suppression of the menace of terrorism and considers itself an
inseparable link of the anti-terrorist coalition.
We pledged through the EADRCC four Belarusian rescue teams (one hundred
men) for search and rescue operations in the USA. Belarus took legal,
financial and other steps to deny and prevent any assistance to terrorists.
We will cooperate actively with all interested states and intergovernmental
organizations in the efforts to bring the organizers and perpetrators
of terrorist acts to justice. We are also convinced that military action
and law enforcement alone will not suffice to root out the causes of terrorism.
A clear and major security challenge is a large-scale flow of illegal
migrants moving westward from terrorism-prone countries. Illegal migration
is closely associated with organized crime, drug trafficking; it is a
breeding ground for terrorists. Belarus undertakes important efforts to
restrain this intense wave rolling through its territory. At present there
are up to 200.000 illegal migrants on our territory targeting to penetrate
European states. In fact, Belarus at its western border shields many EAPC
countries from this unwanted wave. But we do not have adequate means to
continue to cope alone with this problem. We need to get a solid support
in these efforts from NATO and EU, their member-states, as well as EAPC
Another major security challenge is to improve civil preparedness against
chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks, including in their
non-traditional forms. Belarus appreciates a quick move of SCEPC to elaborate
a CEP work plan to meet this challenge. Authorities of my country are
now in process of identifying national assets and capabilities that could
be included in the EADRCC inventory.
We also see a need to provide an EAPC format for enhanced cooperation
of national law-enforcement agencies in counterterrorism, fighting illegal
migration, drug trafficking and organized crime.
In this connection, we welcome and strongly support the Finnish-Swedish
suggestions on the EAPC contribution to the anti-terrorist campaign. The
Republic of Belarus considers the EAPC as an important tool of coalition
building in the fight against terror.
EAPC should be able also to work out cooperative responses to the current
security challenges. This, of course, will require a broader cooperation
and coordination of efforts with the United Nations and the OSCE.
An important tool to meet security risks in the euro-atlantic area is
a network of arms control treaties. I would like to take this opportunity
to inform you that Belarus deposited the instruments of ratification of
the Open Skies Treaty, jointly with Russia, on November 2, 2001. We hope
that the open skies regime will be instrumental in ensuring security and
stability from Vancouver to Vladivostok. And we expect that our partners
under the CFE Treaty will expedite their ratification procedures with
regard to the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty, as stipulated
by the OSCE Istanbul Summit Declaration.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw your attention to the
fact that the Belarusian draft Individual Partnership Program for 2002-2003
had been recently approved by the State Security Council and the Belarus
Mission to NATO is ready now to start discussing it with the relevant
departments of the International Secretariat and International Military
Thank you for your attention.