Belarus and NATO discuss joint military exercises

The Belarusian Defense Ministry has reported about the talks with NATO on holding joint exercises next year.

TASS reports that the parties are discussing the joint "peacekeeping exercises"  as part of the Belarusian military training in the Italian NATO contingent.

It is expected that the Belarusian unit will be part of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon.

"Speaking about conducting joint exercises with NATO, we are not talking about preparation yet, but about the negotiation process," stated the Belarusian Defense Ministry.

In particular, as part of the training, the Belarusian military will conduct joint exercise with the Italian Armed Forces to increase the level of coherence.

In December 2019, Chief of the General Staff of t he Belarusian Armed Forces Oleg Belokonev said in an interview with Nasha Niva newspaper that Minsk is negotiating with the North Atlantic Alliance on the format of joint military exercises.

At the same time, Belokonev stressed that NATO "must realize that Belarus is an ally of Russia."

"Belarus is ready for joint exercises with NATO. There are talks on possible formats. But we will agree on this if  NATO understands that Russia is our strategic ally," said Belokonev, answering the question why Serbia conducts exercises with both Russia and NATO, and Belarus only with Russia.

The cooperation of the Belarusian army with the Alliance is carried out within the framework of the NATO Partnership for Peace program. Belarus joined the program in 1995. Practical cooperation with NATO is carried out based on an individual plan, but joint exercises of the Belarusian army and NATO have not yet been held.

  Belarus, NATO, Russia

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