Executive Secretary visits Belarus
26 April 2017
CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo paid an official visit to Belarus 18-20 April 2017. During his visit, he took part in a number of high-level meetings with representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, government bodies, academic community and international organizations. At a roundtable on confidence-building measures in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament organized by the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belarus Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Valentin Rybakov stressed “Belarus’s commitment to the nuclear disarmament process, and the country's special contribution to the international stability and security.” Belarus renounced its nuclear weapons 20 years ago, thus reaffirming its role as a regional leader in the area of security, according to Rybakov, who also urged the states which have not yet signed and ratified the CTBT to do so as soon as possible.
In his turn, during a meeting with Belarus Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei, Zerbo stated that CTBTO counts on Belarus's assistance in promoting the signature and ratification of this instrument by all countries and facilitating its entry into force.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was developed 20 years ago. It has not yet entered into force as eight states have not signed or ratified it. Belarus maintains bilateral relations with some of these countries. I hope that these bilateral contacts will help the treaty take effect.
The event was also attended by CTBTO GEM member Angela Kane, who served as the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Under-Secretary-General for Management in the United Nations, as well as heads of the foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Belarus, representatives of government and academia. Together with Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Belarus inherited vast amounts of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, it became the first state to voluntarily renounce its remaining nuclear arsenals and signed the Lisbon Protocol and transferred all of its tactical and strategic warheads to the Russian Federation by 1993. Together with the Lisbon Protocol, Belarus also signed and ratified the NPT as a non-nuclear state and was also one of the first countries to sign the CTBT in 1996, ratifying it in 2000. Belarus is an active participant in the global efforts focused at promoting the entry into force of the CTBT. As the country that was the first to renounce its nuclear arsenals after becoming independent, Belarus is interested in strengthening the global non-proliferation regime and considers the CTBT as one of its cornerstones. Besides the government meetings, Zerbo also delivered a lecture to students of the Belarusian State University and visited the National Data Centre at the Ministry for Emergency Situations.