Belarus says ready to ratify defense cooperation treaty with Russia

Belarus is ready to ratify a treaty on military-technical cooperation with Russia which was signed in December last year in Moscow, a senior Belarusian defense industry official said.

Minsk considers military ties with Moscow as strategic in nature and says they play a key role in ensuring national security in Belarus.

"We have carried out all procedural work and will submit it for ratification [by the Belarusian parliament]. The same steps have been taken by our Russian colleagues," chairman of the State Military-Technical Committee, Sergei Gurulyov said on Tuesday.

Russia and Belarus have been trying to form a union to ensure greater political, economic and social integration since 1996, but the process has stalled over a series of disputes.

However, both countries have recently reaffirmed their efforts to adhere to the founding principles of the Union State and move forward "in the interests of the well-being of Russia and Belarus."

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said last December that Russia and Belarus had been successfully strengthening defense and security and formulating common positions on international issues, and had achieved high levels of mutually advantageous cooperation in production and research over the past decade.

In September 2009, Russia and Belarus held the Zapad 2009 military exercises, which involved around 13,000 service personnel, 63 airplanes, 40 helicopters, 470 infantry fighting vehicles, 228 tanks and 234 artillery pieces.

The exercise rehearsed, in particular, the interoperability within the framework of the Belarusian-Russian integrated air defense system, which the two countries agreed to establish earlier in 2009.

Belarus plans to adopt in summer 2010 a new concept of national security to reflect emerging threats and challenges.

MINSK, April 6 (RIA Novosti)


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