. . .
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS
ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO ON THE OSCE LISBON SUMMIT MEETING
(Lisbon, December, 2, 1996)
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are convinced that Europe will enter the XXI century
as a peaceful continent only if the system of its security meets the following
Firstly, it should be able to withstand effectively
both old and new threats to security. In the first place I mean such
threats as regional conflicts, terrorism, organized crime, etc.
Secondly, the system of European security should be indivisible
and ensure a just account of interests of all states of the continent.
All European countries should have equal rights in making decisions
concerning the future of the continent not only de jure but also de facto.
Thirdly, we have to choose a security model which would
unite nations, and not create a threat of new division of
We believe that the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe could become a basis of a system which would
meet the above criteria.
Within the framework of OSCE the already existing institutions
including NATO could find an effective application. We are realistic
in our assessment of the potential of this structure in the field of peacekeeping.
We are ready to further cooperate with NATO in the field of security
within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program.
We deem it shortsighted to make NATO a cornerstone
of the European security system.
The model of the European security, with NATO at its
core, intrinsically, will not be able to attend equally to the interests
of all European states.
Whatever we say now the countries of the European
continent would be split into two uneven and unequal groups: NATO member
states and states which do not belong to this alliance.
The Cold War is over. The Warsaw Treaty Organization
and the Soviet Union which were opposing NATO are no longer in existence.
There is not a single state in the East of the continent which could bear
threat of aggression.
In these circumstances everything should be done to avoid
steps which could cause a new division of Europe and sow the seeds
of mutual mistrust and suspiciousness.
Perhaps we raise our voice against this louder than others,
because it is Belarus who would suffer most as a result of a new split
of Europe. In this case the dividing line will run along the border of
Belarus. That is why the NATO plans of fast eastward expansion cause our
It is important, however, that we should keep in mind
that in this case there will be no winners. A security system based on
the hegemony of any group of states cannot be firm and last long.
In this light the all-Europe security system with the
OSCE as its backbone seems to us the most optimal. We believe that already
now OSCE could take the role of a coordinator of European and transatlantic
institutions in securing peace and stability in the European continent.
My newly-born country by word and deed made and is
making concrete and very significant steps that promote security on
In accordance with the CFE Treaty Belarus has dismantled
more tanks, combat vehicles and other military equipment than Britain,
France and the USA taken together. I would like to underline that this
was the equipment inherited from the "cold war" period.
Belarus was the first to voluntarily and unconditionally
renounce, the opportunity to come into possession of the huge nuclear stockpile
located in its territory.
We have come up with an initiative to create a nuclear-free
area on the continent and have made concrete steps to implement this
idea: after having fulfilled ahead of time its obligations under the protocol
signed here in Lisbon in May 1992 Belarus has quite recently completed
the withdrawal from its territory of the last missile!
But tile attitude taken in this issue by many of our
foreign partners can hardly be called adequate.
On the one hand, they welcome the withdrawal of nuclear
missiles from Belarus, on the other hand, they do not show their willingness
to take the obligation not to deploy nuclear weapons in their territory.
All this taken into account, I sometimes feel that we
managed to get rid of the "cold war" stereotypes earlier than
many others. I call on you to take an impartial look at the problem and
support the idea of creation of a nuclear-free area.
Besides the military and political dimension security
has many other not less important aspects. Among them I would name first
of all the ecological and economic aspects.
The price of ecological security is well known
to our people: Belarus suffered more than others from the Chernobyl disaster.
Such calamity knows no state borders. It was not us who built the Chernobyl
nuclear power plant and the latter is not located on the Belarussian territory,
but the bulk of the fallout is on our land.
I believe you would agree that the problem of ecological
security requires by far more attention on the part of the OSCE.
Of special relevance today is economic security.
Belarus, as other economies in transition, is going through hard times.
Belarus is building a socially oriented market economy and is interested
in broad understanding from IMF and other institutions. At the same time
one cannot underestimate the problem of the social cost of reforms.
I am convinced that economic reforms should not lead to social outburst
that could rum all hopes for a better future.
As to the statements made here regarding the internal
political situation in Belarus I would like to say the following.
The referendum recently held in Belarus was conducted
in full conformity with the acting Constitution and legislation of the
Republic. The attempts to present the referendum results as illegitimate
have no grounds whatsoever. I believe nobody is entitled to consider
illegitimate the democratic expression of the will by the whole people.
More than 70 per cent of the Belarus' citizens who took part in the voting
endorsed the amendments to the Constitution of 1994 as proposed by the
Distinguished colleagues, it is with full responsibility
that I underscore: we do not have any political crisis, there is not
even a hint of the division in the society, the existence of which
was so insistently claimed by our internal opposition. On the contrary,
after the referendum the society found tranquillity and stability. As
you see our problems are being resolved by exclusively peaceful political
means. And we will follow this way in the time to come.
As regards accusations of authoritarianism I will leave
them without any comments as totally artificial.
We intend to contribute in every possible way to strengthening
the cooperation with OSCE and other European structures on all the issues
, including the problems of democratization and reforming of our society,
implementation of the norms and rules of OSCE in the field of human measurement.
It goes without saying that the attempts of pressure
or interference into our internal affairs and the attempts to politically
isolate the Republic would be counterproductive. We expect from OSCE an
appropriate attitude and implementation of the existing rules and procedures
of the relationship with the Member States.
Our country is one of the few post-Soviet states
where there are no border disputes with our neighbours, no ethnic or
religious conflicts, no language discrimination etc. You can be certain
that Belarussian people who lives in the geographical centre of Europe
will unswervingly follow the road of democratic development.
Belarus will continue to be your reliable partner in
resolving fairly all the problems on the way to European security.
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