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Belarus President on West 2017 drills: Nobody is going to neglect security of states

The CSTO member states are able to solve internal problems in the area of ​​responsibility of the organization, said on June 15 the President of Belarus at a meeting with the secretaries of the Security Council of the Tashkent Treaty.

All this week is held in Minsk under the sign of the CSTO. In 2017, Belarus, as a presiding country, prepared a number of proposals for improving the alliance. This matter was discussed on Tuesday this week by the heads of the military departments of the CSTO member states. On June 15, two days later, Alexander Lukashenko voiced problems that need to be addressed, including to strengthen the international image.

Following the defense ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, secretaries of national security councils met in Minsk. Belarus now presides over the organization - the meetings of the statutory bodies are held in its capital Minsk. The Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils has functions of departmental nature. The Belarus President notes that gives CSTO a special weight.

The CSTO was created to ensure the security of the six member states. However, not only that was the case. The potential of the organization makes it possible to play a significant role on a global scale.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
If we resolved alarming issues and instability points in our space, I think the credibility of our organization would grow significantly. We - it was my initiative - wanted to put these issues on the agenda during our chairmanship, but we did not dare, fearing too much scatter of opinions on these issues. We really want to solve the problems ourselves, at the table, in Minsk, Moscow, Yerevan, in other cities of the CSTO countries, so that there is no influence of other states, groups, round tables and so on. Especially since we can solve these problems: in Karabakh, in Transnistria, in Ukraine, and so on. These are our problems, so it's we who must solve them. Without foreign politburos and interventions.
It was in this room that the "Normandy Four" meetings were held and historical "Minsk agreements" were worked out, which, unfortunately, have not been fully implemented and, as I see it, have already been attacked the last week by those states that would have to sit down at the negotiating table and join this format.

I already hear talk that maybe it is possible to do without the Minsk format, it is possible to find some other ways of settling the Ukrainian conflict.

You can, of course, but starting from the beginning is always more difficult than continuing a good deed. So I would like to hear your point of view here.

Challenges and threats today require consolidated response and cohesion, clear coordination of actions and high technical capabilities. Our region has not been a source of threat, but the CSTO must keep up with the times, keeping in mind the priority task - the protection of the states' national interests.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Our Belarusian-Russian drills, West 2017... The pressure here is immense. I do not even know why. This is a strange kind of pressure. We are reproached for something and so on. This is not our first exercise. One year we have command post exercises, then we have joint exercises, Russia and Belarus alternating, because we have a single grouping in the western direction. The Belarusian and Russian armies in the West act as a single whole. We do not hide this from the NATO members or anyone else. But if there is such a grouping, it is clear that such exercises should be conducted. So we conduct them. But the strangest thing is that we are reproached for being far from what they are doing. We do not form or place here any new units of foreign states (Chinese, Indian, Pakistani or others). On the contrary, we see how more and more units and troops, including foreign ones, are deployed against our borders, with unconcealed operational zeal. I do not know why Russia does not speak about it. Nevertheless, I will say this. All right, troops would be okay, but the most modern unmanned aerial vehicles are located there. When I saw pictures of these drones, listen, they're huge, like real planes. These are drones for strikes. Against whom?

And they tell us: you calm down, you should not conduct any exercises. No, we will conduct these drills, because nobody will neglect the security of states. Neither Russia, nor Belarus, nor the CSTO will allow that.

I'm talking about the western direction. This is the zone of responsibility of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

In the event of a conflict, as our plan states, Russia immediately strengthens the Belarusian army, pulling western units, from the western part of Russia. NATO troops know about this.

We do not hide it either. Nevertheless, our drills are not aimed at an offensive on someone's territory.

We have enough of our own territories. We are not going to conquer anybody.

There are more than a dozen issues on the agenda of the Committee meeting. The key is security information. In the near future, a document will be developed that will allow countering the advance of terrorist ideas on the Internet more effectively. Every year, hundreds of resources with extremist slogans and calling for violence are suppressed in the World Wide Web.

Yuri Khachaturov, Secretary General of the CSTO:
In 2016 alone, more than 11,000 information resources that in principle threaten the security of our countries were identified. Taking into account the constantly increasing destructive information impact on our states, as well as on terrorists using Internet for their purposes, we are going to prepare a number of concrete proposals for consideration by our heads of state, taking into account the discussion of this issue.

The constant task for the CSTO is also to improve the command and control system of special forces.

Stanislav Zas, State Secretary of Security Council of the Republic of Belarus:
I think that in autumn, at the session of collective security we will present to our heads of state some changes in the principles of CSTO military-technical cooperation with a view to enhancing this cooperation. Our organization is strengthening, gathering momentum. A lot of good practical work is conducted and we do see growth prospects.

The joint training plan for 2018 has already been outlined. Joint exercises of rapid response forces are planned for the next year. This will allow improving interaction effectiveness. Trainings and thematic conferences will also be held.

Belarus President on West 2017 drills: Nobody is going to neglect security of states