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Conventional Arms Control and Confidence Building Measures

In compliance with its commitments under the international agreements Belarus destroyed large quantities of conventional arms and military equipment, thus, reducing conventional armaments surpluses, having significantly contributed to strengthening peace and stability in Europe.

Under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) 
1773 army tanks, 1341 battle armored machines and 130 battle planes have been destroyed. It constitutes over 10 per cent of the arms and military equipment destroyed by all 30 CFE member states. Belarus took an active part in the negotiations on the Treaty adaptation to new geopolitical landscape, and was the first to ratify the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty in July 2000, signed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in November 1999. However, this agreement has not yet entered into force because of the linkage made by several CFE State Parties between its ratification and the fulfillment by the Russian Federation of the commitments not directly related to conventional arms control.

Realizing that the CFE has been exhausted at the end of the 90s of the previous century and does not correspond to the current military and political situation on the European continent, the Republic of Belarus supports modernisation and restoration of the viability of pan-European arms control regime without any preconditions and accession to it of all interested OSCE participating States.

In September 2003 the Republic of Belarus joined the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. Under the Convention, the most important challenge for Belarus is the destruction of the existing stockpiles of antipersonnel mines – seventh largest arsenal in the world. Belarus undertakes well-directed efforts to ensure its destruction.

Fully sharing the humanitarian law principles of protecting civil population from the exposure to certain types of conventional armaments and defending combatants from excessive sufferings, Belarus is a party to 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 (The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons/CCW) and all Additional Protocols to the Convention. The Republic of Belarus chaired in 2011-2012 the Fifth Conference of the States Parties to the CCW Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (CCW Protocol V), guiding the work of this important international forum and promoting its universality.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is an important partner of Belarus in international security. Within the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation (OSCE FSC), Belarus took part in drafting the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons (2000) and the OSCE Document on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (2003). Belarus chaired FSC in April-August 2005.

Confidence Building Measures are essential to conventional arms control both on the regional and sub-regional levels. Following the strategy of the Head of the State aimed at creating a good neighboring and security zone along the borders of the state, Belarus signed arrangements with Ukraine and Lithuania (2001), Latvia and Poland (2004) on additional confidence and security measures. These measures provide for perimeter of security and trust important to all the neighbors.

Belarus supports further modernisation of the Vienna Document on Strengthening Trust and Security (2011).

Belarus is also party to the Treaty on Open Skies which encourages more transparency and confidence in Europe as a whole. Belarus chaired the Open Skies Consultative Commission – a working body reviewing all issues related to the implementation of the Treaty on Open Skies — in September-December 2008.