MINSK, December 31. /TASS/. Belarus is ready to develop cooperation with NATO and this is one of the areas of its multi-vector foreign policy aimed at maintaining friendly and good-neighborly relations with foreign partners, the Belarusian Defense Ministry told TASS on Tuesday.
"The Republic of Belarus is interested in maintaining and developing dialogue with NATO. This is natural, considering the fact that the alliance is a military and political actor of the world level," the ministry said.
Belarus has about 1,200 km of common border with NATO member states, it specified.
"We should maintain this dialogue, at least for easing the tension and for ensuring transparency of the processes that are taking place today as part of the consistent militarization of the European region," the Belarusian Defense Ministry explained.
While engaging in the Partnership for Peace program in such areas as crisis response to natural and man-made disasters, the efforts to fight terrorism and human trafficking, border protection and scientific research, "the Republic of Belarus is keen on boosting the respective potentials aimed at countering new challenges and threats to international security," the ministry stressed.
While building a dialogue and military cooperation with NATO and the alliance’s members, Minsk proceeds from the fact that "the Russian Federation is a strategic partner of the Republic of Belarus and that the Republic of Belarus is a member state of the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] and the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]," it said.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry considers it "an exaggeration to say that cooperation with NATO in the military sphere is implemented at a high level."
"A regular dialogue between representatives of the country’s Defense Ministry and corresponding officials of the alliance’s military structure is absent," the ministry clarified.
Also, "NATO’s restrictive measure in relation to Belarus is in effect: up to date, the agreement on [information] security between the Republic of Belarus and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has not entered into force," the ministry pointed out.
"This agreement was signed in 1995 while the process of its entry into force is being blocked by the alliance," the ministry explained.
"At the same time, our country is almost the only partner state, which does not have an operational [information] security agreement," the Defense Ministry of Belarus noted.