Belarus opposed to deployment of intermediate-, shorter-range missiles in Europe - Lukashenko
MINSK. Sept 23 (Interfax) - Belarus is categorically against the deployment of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles in Europe, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with State Military-Industrial Committee Chairman Roman Golovchenko on Monday.
"I have said so repeatedly," the presidential press service quoted Lukashenko as saying.
Belarus found itself in the limelight after the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Lukashenko said. "Given our presence in this political hotspot, we have to mind our security. Unfortunately, the world has not become a safer place. We can see that and have to take measures," the president said.
Lukashenko asked Golovchenko about the commission's current operations and key areas of activity. "You received more than one assignment, especially after we examined new weapon systems. How are these assignments being fulfilled? They are focused both on resuming the activity of existent plants and on manufacturing new weapon systems consistent with our current capacities," he said.
In addition, the president enquired about development of the missile industry. He said that Belarus had designed an intermediate-range missile and planned to develop even more powerful weapons. "We plan to increase the range and capacity of this missile using our groundwork and experience of our partners, primarily China, which we are actively cooperating with in the missile industry. Please tell me more about progress towards our objectives," Lukashenko told Golovchenko.
The Belarusian president said at a high-level international conference on counterterrorism in early September that Belarus had no intention of violating the INF Treaty provisions and urged a pledge of responsible sides not to deploy such missiles in Europe.
"Belarus was a full-fledged party to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. We have not withdrawn from the treaty and have no intention of either making or deploying missiles of the type unless our security is endangered," Lukashenko said.
"A pledge of responsible countries not to deploy intermediate- and shorter-range missiles in Europe could really bolster security levels," he said.