Medvedev: Russia, Belarus shall reinforce military cooperation

MOSCOW, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Belarus shall reinforce their military cooperation, said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday.

"The military-strategic component of our relations is very important," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted the Russian leader as telling reporters from Minsk at presidential residence in Barvikha.

Moscow and Minsk have been working on creating a Union State since 1997, envisioning a common economic, customs, and political space.

Medvedev said the component of Union State in Russia-Belarus relations shall be strengthened.

He also said regional bloc such as NATO and organization such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization both have the military component.

"That is why I think that this component should be developed by Russia and Belarus. Finally our military-strategic component facilitates the strengthening of security on the European continent," he said.

Medvedev also reiterated that the joint strategic military exercises dubbed "Zapad 2009 (West 2009)" conducted by the two countries in fall were of defensive nature and were not targeted at third countries.

Military forces of Russia and Belarus will give response to complex problems including terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, he said.


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