MINSK, September 3. /TASS/. Belarus has not pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF) and it is not going to make such missiles or deploy them on its territory, President Alexander Lukashenko told an international high-level conference on countering terrorism through innovative approaches and the use of new and emerging technologies on Tuesday.
"Let me say once again that Belarus was a full-fledged participant in the INF Treaty. We have not pulled out of that treaty and we are not going to make or deploy such missiles, if there is no threat to our security. There is no such situation at the moment," he said.
Lukashenko added that Belarus is situated in the heartland of Europe, where "memories of the most terrible wars in the history of humanity are still alive in the genes of all people."
"I am certain that a declaration by responsible countries on the non-deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe might become a major contribution to strengthening security," Lukashenko noted. "We are not idealists. We see all the problems such an initiative may run against amid the existing contradictions."
Lukashenko is certain that joint actions to preserve the achievements of the INF Treaty on the continent "would become an important step forward in the global dialogue over restoring trust."
Possible developments following INF's dissolution
The termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty may lead to the deployment of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles in Europe, which will raise tensions on the European continent, Lukashenko cautioned.
"The latest sad example is the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The real possibility of such armaments appearing in Europe is a direct path towards rising tensions on the continent and a new wave of the arms race," Lukashenko said. He noted that the arms race "has already begun and is moving very fast."
"In order to recover trust, Belarus continues to steadily and persistently promote the idea of the need to renew expanded dialogue both on a regional and global level," the Belarusian leader said. "We cannot guarantee the safety of our countries and people without universal readiness for a new negotiation process that would stabilize international relations." According to Lukashenko, a search for new ideas and a unifying agenda is necessary. "To our mind, one of them can be countering the deployment of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles in the European region," Lukashenko said.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on August 2 stated that Washington had pulled out of the INF Treaty. The Russian Foreign Ministry, too, said that the INF Treaty was terminated on August 2 at the initiative of the United States. On August 18, the United States for the first time since its exit, tested a ground-based cruise missile having parameters forbidden under the abandoned treaty. Its range of flight was more than 500 kilometers.