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    NATO Should Be Able to Observe Russia-Belarus Joint Drills - Belarus President

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    NATO and other international organizations should be able to monitor the joint drills of Russia and Belarus Zapad-2017 that are scheduled for the fall of this year, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday.

    MINSK (Sputnik) — On March 10, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance would "welcome an invitation to observe the ZAPAD exercise."

    "The upcoming event is absolutely transparent and I am asking all of you to make sure that this event that will be held on our territory is transparent and that all of the events are open not only to our partners from [the Collective Security Treaty Organization] CSTO, [the Eurasian Economic Union] EAEU, [the Commonwealth of Independent States] CIS, but to the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — NATO as well," Lukashenko said, as quoted on his website.

    The president of Belarus stressed that the members of NATO or any other organization were welcome to attend the drills.

    "You will see that [the drills] are purely for defense, that neither we, nor Russia are planning to provoke anybody, let alone attack. We are just trying to ensure our security in case of any eventuality," the president said.

    According to the press service, Lukashenko inquired about the key tasks of the joint drills, the sequence, the army units that would participate in this event, locations and the expected results.

    The president asked the Defense Ministry to work out all the issues carefully that are related to interactions with the state and local authorities on all aspects of the drills.

    The Zapad-2017 drills will be held on September 14-20.


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