Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 10, November 1996
Confusion over Belarus 'threat' to stop nuclear warhead transfersIn Minsk on 13 November, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, addressing Parliament, once more stated that he was making the transfer of the State's final nuclear weapons to Russia conditional on "guarantees from the West that it will not deploy such weapons on our borders." Poland, a prime candidate to join NATO, borders Belarus.
Lukashenko's remarks were seemingly in contradiction to the unequivocal commitment given by his Foreign Minister, Uladzimir Syanko, in Oslo on 30 October:
"The Lisbon Accords, regulating nuclear missiles on former Soviet territory, conclude that all missiles should be transferred to Russia by 1997. We will ship the last 16 SS-25 long-range nuclear missiles to Russia by the end of this year."
Editor's note: in late November, Belarus duly completed its transfer - see Documents and Sources and next issue.
Reports: Belarus set to transfer all nuclear missiles to Russia - FM, Agence France-Presse International News, 30 October; Belarus President threatens to freeze withdrawal of nukes, Agence France-Presse International News, 13 November; Lukashenko suggests joint opposition to NATO, OMRI Daily Digest, No. 221, Part I, 14 November.
© 1999 The Acronym Institute.