Updated: 07-Dec-2001 NATO Speeches

7 Dec. 2001


by 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 partner-nations.

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 Secretariat.

Thank you for your attention.


Go to Homepage Go to Index