Belarus is categorically against the deployment of NATO military contingents in the Baltics and Poland, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview with Spanish daily El País.
"The deployment of new military contingents will not promote stability and security in this region and therefore we are categorically against the deployment of a NATO contingent in the Baltic countries and in Poland," Makei said in the interview published on Tuesday. "This obliges the other party to take countermeasures and prompts an arms race, just like during the Cold War."
The Belarusian minister also commented on the possible establishment of a Russian military base on Belarusian territory. "A new foreign military base in Belarus makes no sense, as modern weapons enable Russia to respond just as quickly from its own territory," he noted. "We wouldn't want to be a new irritating factor in our region."
Speaking about the upcoming joint Belarusian-Russian military exercise Zapad 2017, Makei described it as a planned exercise conducted every two years.
"It's necessary to wait until they are complete so that everyone can see the absurdity of the accusations leveled," stated the minister." Our neighbors shouldn't worry, as Belarusian territory will never be a source of war or a military threat. The exercise will be transparent. We will invite monitors from neighboring countries and representatives from the OSCE and accredited embassies."
Zapad 2017 is to take place in September.
Editor: Aili Vahtla