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Arms Control

Arms Control Obligations of Belarus

Being an equal member of UN since 1949, Belarus assumed a number of international obligations in disarmament and arms control. From 1992 Belarus started to fulfill obligations in nuclear and conventional arms reduction and limitation: Treaty on Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, Treaty on Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, etc. by right of representation of international agreements of the former USSR. The country also signed new global and regional agreements in the sphere of international security, elimination of chemical weapons and anti-personnel mines, additional confidence- and security- measures for military forces and activity: Vienna Document, Treaty on Open Skies, Chemical Weapons Convention, OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Hague Code of Non-Proliferation, Ottawa Treaty (Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention), etc. The country also strives to become an equal member of all existing international non-proliferation regimes.

Belarus fulfils provisions of all signed in this area international treaties. It is proved by the country's participation in international and regional systems of disarmament and arms control, as well as confidence- and security-building measures within the UN and OSCE.

Alongside with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus the fulfilling of obligations in arms control area was under the responsibility of the National Agency for Control and Inspections – Defence Ministry department (from 1992), and International Military Cooperation Department, Ministry of Defence, Rebublic of Belarus (from 2015).


Vienna Document


The Vienna Document 2011 on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (Vienna Document) was adopted during the Forum for Security Cooperation on 30 November 2011. It is a continuation of Vienna Documents 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1999. At present, 57 OSCE member states participate in the Vienna Document.

The aim of the Vienna Document is to undertake, in stages, new, effective and concrete actions designed to make progress in strengthening confidence and security and in achieving disarmament, so as to give effect and expression to the duty of the participating states to refrain from the threat or use of force in their mutual relations as well as in their international relations in general.

The Vienna Document defines the following inspection control measures: inspections of specified areas, visits to military units to control military activities and estimation of annual information presented by participating states.

According to the Vienna Document, in 1992–2016, Belarus received 66 inspections of specified areas conducted by 23 participating states and 35 evaluation visits of units conducted by 16 participating states.

During the specified period, Belarusian inspecting groups conducted 116 inspections of specified areas on the territory of 20 participating states and 41 evaluation visits of units on the territory of 14 participating states. In 2003–2016, representatives of Belarus participated in 34 inspections of specified areas and 7 evaluation visits within the Vienna Document within inspecting groups of other participating states.

Within the contacts and military cooperation Rebublic of Belarus organized visits of the OSCE participating states to the following units: the 61st fighter airbase in 1996, the 116th bomber surveillance airbase and 11th mechanised brigade in 2000, the 206th assault airbase and the 120th mechanised brigade in 2006, the 61st fighter airbase and 11th mechanised brigade in 2011, the 116th assault airbase and 103th separate airborne brigade in 2016. To the OSCE participating states were also demonstrated new and upgraded weapon systems and military equipment: the MiG-29BM combat aircraft, the Yak-130 combat-training aircraft, BM-21A «BelGrad» MLRS and Mi-8MTKO combat support helicopter;

Belarus also received and accompanied 8 groups of military observers from neighbouring countries to Neman–2001, Berezina–2002, Clear Sky–2003, Shield of Fatherland–2004, Osen–2008, Zapad–2009 and Zapad–2013 military exercises. Belarus invited military observers to demonstrate its good will and the spirit of transparency since the observed military activities did not exceed the thresholds for observed military activities stipulated in the Vienna Document 1999.

Belarusian representatives participated in visits to airbases and military objects, were demonstrated new types of armament and observed military exercises arranged by the OSCE participating states.


Bilateral Agreements of Belarus on Additional Confidence- and Security-Building Measures


Within the policy of strengthening regional stability based on the principle of bilateral and mutually beneficial cooperation with neighbouring states in all spheres and according to the Vienna Document’s Chapter X Regional Measures, Belarus signed the following bilateral agreements:

An Agreement between Belarus and Lithuania on Additional Confidence- and Security-Building Measures dated 19 July 2001;

An Agreement between Government of Belarus and Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on Additional Confidence- and Security-Building Measures dated 16 October 2001;

An Agreement between Belarus and Latvia on Additional Confidence- and Security-Building Measures dated 4 March 2004;

Additional Confidence- and Security-Building Measures to the Vienna Document 1999 adopted by Belarus and Poland and dated 20 July 2004.

According to provisions of specified agreements, in 2002–2016, Belarus additionally received 25 inspections of specified areas and 50 evaluation visits. During the period, Belarus conducted 22 inspections of specified areas and 50 evaluation visits in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.


Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe


Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (the CFE Treaty) was signed on 19 November, 1990 and came into effect on 17 July, 1992. 28 European states and Canada and the USA are states parties to the treaty.

The CFE Treaty objectives are: establishment of a secure and stable balance of conventional armed forces in Europe; elimination of disparities prejudicial to the stability and security; elimination of a capability for launching a surprise attack.

In 1992–2016, Belarus received 301 inspecting groups from 20 sates parties and conducted 226 inspections of objects of verification of armed forces of NATO member states. Belarusian inspectors participated in 115 inspections of declared sites within inspection groups of the Treaty’s states parties.


Treaty on Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty)


The Treaty on Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) between USSR and the USA was signed on 8 December 1987 and came into effect on 1 June 1988. Elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles and launchers for this type missiles was completed by 1 June 1991.

Alongside with Kazakhstan, Russian and Ukraine, Belarus became a successor state of the former USSR to the Treaty according to the decision of the Summit of Heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States held on 9 October 1992 in Bishkek (Kyrghyzstan).

The INF Treaty is of unlimited duration. According to its provisions, the Parties committed neither to produce any medium-range (1,000–5,500 km) and shorter-range (500–1,000 km) ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, nor carry out flight tests of such missiles nor produce any stages and launchers of such missiles.

The states parties' rights to conduct on-site inspections under the Treaty ended on 31 May 2001. Belarus received 21 US inspections under the Treaty.


Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)


The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was approved by the UN General Assembly on 12 June 1968. The Treaty was opened for signature on 1 July 1968 in Moscow, Washington and London, and entered into force in 1970.

Belarus became a successor state of the former USSR to the Treaty according to the Decision on Participation of the Commonwealth of Independent States Members in the NPT dated 1 June 1968, approved on 6 July 1992 in Moscow. The Decree of Belarus’ Supreme Soviet on ratification of the country’s accedence to the Treaty was accepted on 4 February 1993.

The Treaty is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and provide international control over states parties’ compliance with the provisions of the Treaty.

Belarus was the first country in the world to refuse to possess nuclear weapons passing from the former USSR voluntarily and unconditionally.

At present, Belarus strictly observes bans on possession, production and transfer of nuclear weapons.


Treaty on Open Skies


The Treaty on Open Skies was signed on 24 March 1992 in Helsinki, Finland. It was ratified by Belarus on 29 May 2001. The Treaty entered into force on 1 January 2002 and currently has 34 states parties: 32 European states, Canada and the USA.

The Treaty’s objective is to create an Open Skies regime for observation flights by states parties over the territories of other states parties to improve openness and transparency in arms control and to strengthen the capacity for conflict prevention and crisis management within the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and in other relevant international institutions.

The Treaty is implemented through observation flights on specially equipped observation aircraft of states parties.

Belarus participates in the Treaty on Open Skies within the Belarus–Russia Group of States Parties.

In 2002–2016 in frame of the Belarus–Russia Group of States Parties received 77 observation flights conducted over the territory of Belarus. In its turn, a group of Belarus–Russia States Parties conducted 57 observation flights over territories of other states parties with participation of Belarusian flight representatives.


OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons


The OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW Document) was adopted at the 308th Plenary Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation on 24 November 2000.

The aim of the OSCE Document on SALW is to combat SALW illegal trafficking in all its aspects through adoption and implementation of national controls, and enhanced cooperation and exchange of information between law-enforcement and customs agencies on the international, regional and national levels.

Since 2001, Belarus has been submitting information to the OSCE member states on the following issues in accordance with the SALW Document: export/import of SALW during the previous year; quantity of SALW destroyed on the territory of the country during the previous calendar year; marking of systems used during SALW manufacturing and import; control procedures over SALW manufacturing and changes in the national legislation on SALW.

From July, 2007 Ministry of Defence, Republic of Belarus with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Belarus together with OSCE meber states realize the international technical project which main aim is to enhance SALW storage safety in 13 military units of the Belarusian Armed Forces. Nowadays the project is in the closing stages of its realization.

Furthermore, in frame of the project realization was created the special software for electronic SALW inventory management at the SALW storages.


Inhumane Weapons Convention


The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (Inhumane Weapons Convention) was adopted at the UN conference in Geneva (Switzerland) on 10 October 1980. Belarusian Soviet Socialistic Republic (BSSR) ratified the Convention on 4 June, 1982 and it came into force on 2 December, 1983.

The Convention’s aim is to prohibit and restrict the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects and to facilitate the main talks on disarmament with a view to putting an end to the production, stockpiling and proliferation of such weapons.

Inhuman Weapon Convention is framework and serves as a legal basis for implementation of annexed Protocols on specific weapons.

Belarus complies with the provisions of the Convention and annexed Protocols in full and submits information to the US Secretary-General.


Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention


Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) was adopted on 18 September 1997 in Ottawa, Canada. Belarus acceded to the Ottawa Convention on 3 September 2003. The Convention is of unlimited duration. It entered into force for Belarus on 1 March 2004. At present, 159 countries are states parties to the Convention.

The Convention’s aim is to ban the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and to destroy them.

Republic of Belarus fulfilled all the obligations according to the Ottawa Convention.

In 2006, implementation of the Demilitarisation of Antipersonnel Mines in Belarus project between Belarus and the NATO Maintenance Supply Agency was finished. Within the project, about 290,000 TNT-containing antipersonnel mines were disposed.

In 2014-2016 Republic of Belarus through intermediary of European Commission recycled 3,4 million of PFM-1 type mines.


Biological Weapons Convention


The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (the Biological Weapons Convention, BWC) was open for signature on 10 April 1972 in Moscow, London and Washington. Belarusian Soviet Socialistic Republic signed the Convention on 10 April 1972.

Belarus has no bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons, as well as objects for their production.

However, Belarus has a developed medical industry, which produces medical drugs. According to the BWC provisions, Belarus submits an annual report on the Convention’s implementation to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs located in New York. Data for the report are submitted by Belarus’ Ministry of Health.


Chemical Weapons Convention


Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention, CWC) was signed on 13 January 1993 by 130 states in Paris, France. By now, 190 states signed the Convention and 188 of them ratified it. Belarus ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention on 9 February 1995.

The Convention is of unlimited duration. It entered into force on 29 April 1997. Organisation for The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the Convention’s consultative and controlling body.

The CWC aims to prohibit the development, production, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by states parties, as well as assistance to other states in its development or acquisition.

There are no chemical weapons on the territory of Belarus. For this reason, compliance with the Convention’s provisions means compliance with obligations on the ban of chemical weapons and information support during inspections of the country’s chemical enterprises by experts from the Organisation for The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

In 1999–2016, Belarus received 8 inspections of the country’s chemical enterprises by experts from the Organisation for The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. No claims to Belarus from international inspectors on compliance with CWC provision were reported.


The mechanism of control measures on the territory of Republic of Belarus and control measures on the territory of other participating states in 2016


In order to fulfillment the control measures Republic of Belarus in 2016 received 26 inspections, evaluation visits and observation flights:

CFE: 10 inspections of declared sites;

VD: 3 inspections of specified area, 3 evaluation visits;

Agreements of RCSM: 2 inspections of specified area, 4 evaluation visits;

TOS: 3 observation flights;

CWC: 1 inspection.

Furthermore, Belarus received 2 evaluation OSCE missions (enhance SALW storage safety) and in frame of Vienna Document organized the visit of 116th assault airbase and 103th separate airborne brigade in 2016. To the 59 representatives from 26 OSCE participating states were also demonstrated new and upgraded weapon systems and military equipment: the Yak-130 combat-training aircraft.

In order to fulfillment the control measures on the territory of other participating states in 2016 Republic of Belarus conducted 12 inspections and evaluation visits:

CFE: 3 inspections of declared sites;

VD: 2 inspections of specified area, 1 evaluation visits;

Agreements of RCSM: 2 inspections of specified area, 4 evaluation visits;

Belarusian representatives also participated in 10 inspections, evaluation visits and observation flights as guest inspectors within inspections and observation missions of other participating states.