Minsk is interested in a security dialogue with the United States
Minsk rightly regards the normalization with the United States as a necessary requirement to develop cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic community and its interstate body, NATO, which is necessary to confirm the Belarusian authorities’ international subjectivity and independence.
On March 5th, 2019, President Lukashenka urged to establish such relations with NATO, which would ultimately strengthen Belarus’ security. He referred to the fact that three of five Belarus’ neighbours were already NATO member states and Ukraine intended to become one.
On the same day, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent met in Minsk with the First Deputy Internal Affairs Minister of Belarus, Ivan Podgursky. Belarus declared her readiness to strengthen and develop cooperation with US law enforcement agencies in areas of mutual interest. The parties discussed a wide range of international issues relating to ensuring security and confronting global challenges and threats.
Earlier it was reported that the US inspection team visited the 336th rocket artillery brigade under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. According to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, the inspection confirmed Belarus’ compliance with the Treaty requirements regarding the claimed and available weapons and military equipment. That said, one of the brigade battalions is armed with the RMLS Polonaise.
Minsk has demonstrated its readiness to establish (promptly) cooperation with the United States in several areas, including on security matters, most important for the American Eastern European policy. Considering the upcoming Russo-Belarusian exercises “Union Shield 2019” and ambiguous relations with the Kremlin, the Belarusian authorities are interested in demonstrating their ability to pursue an independent security policy, which could differ from the Russian one however would not cross the ‘red line’ drawn by the Kremlin for other post-Soviet states.