Lukashenko jealous of NATO

Agency WPS
May 21, 2004, Friday


SOURCE: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 18, 2004, p. 5

by Olga Mazayeva

Nikolai Bordyuzha, General Secretary of the Organization of the CIS
Collective Security Treaty, visited Minsk last week. The visit was
not pre-announced even though Bordyuzha met with President Alexander
Lukashenko. The meeting looked hasty and generated a lot of
speculations – after all, Bordyuzha had already visited Minsk two
weeks ago. All of that made local observers wonder that Bordyuzha
perhaps could have some clandestine mission to accomplish. The
impression the visit left was that Bordyuzha had come to gauge
Lukashenko’s meed before his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Yalta on
May 21 and 22.

All leaks to the official media concerned Lukashenko’s extreme
displeasure over the contacts of CIS countries and particularly
Russia with NATO. The president of Belarus told Bordyuzha irritably
that he wondered if the Organization of the CIS Collective Security
Treaty was that necessary in the first place (the organization
comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
Tajikistan). According to Lukashenko, he did not “understand the
behavior of participants of the Organization of the CIS Collective
Security Treaty… There are NATO troops in Tajikistan under the
pretext of fighting terrorism. We support it. But Belarus did not
know anything about it nobody had asked for its opinion despite
appropriate provisions of the Treaty. What if Belarus let some other
bloc deploy troops on its territory? What would our colleagues have
said? They’d have objected.” The president of Belarus also wondered
of Armenia’s and Kazakhstan’s contacts with NATO. “Some separate
negotiations are under way – always with plausible explanations,” he
said. Lukashenko was particularly irked by the fact that “even Russia
cooperates with NATO and we discover it from newspapers.” Bordyuzha
agreed that the Organization of the CIS Collective Security Treaty
should clarify its position and stop being amorphous when the United
States and Europe were expanding their clout eastward.

Summing up the meeting, Lukashenko said that every organization
should promote security of its members and that he did not want to
waste money on membership otherwise. In short, there is no
information on what Bordyuzha’s mission was about but Lukashenko’s
response to it is very revealing. “NATO is on the borders of the
Russian-Belarusian Union now,” Lukashenko told Bordyuzha. He said
that Moscow and Minsk set up a joint army group capable of “repelling
any threat” and therefore should stick to each other.