On October 27 Lithuanian Minister of National Defence, Rasa Jukneviciene, met with Defence minister of Belarus, Lt Gen Yuri Zhadobin, and discussed bilateral and regional military cooperation of the countries, and signed an agreement on defence cooperation.
Acting Chief of Defence of Lithuania, Maj Gen Jonas Vytautas Zukas, and other representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Armed Forces also met with the guest Minister and his delegation.
The meeting addressed relevant matters of international security, bilateral and regional cooperation. Ministers of both countries discussed means of enhancing mutual trust and possibilities for troops to participate in multinational operations.
Minister of National Defence asserted that Lithuania had interest in closer cooperation between Belarus, the European Union and NATO, and therefore expected that the first meeting of Belarusian and Lithuanian Defence Ministers would be mutually beneficial.
After the meeting R. Jukneviciene on behalf of Lithuania, and Lt Gen Yuri Zhadobin on behalf of Belarus signed an agreement of defence cooperation. The document confirmed further development of Lithuanian-Belarusian cooperation in military training and education, airspace surveillance, arms control, military environmental protection, military geography, military medicine and other sectors.
According to the Minister R. Jukneviciene, the agreement will enable development of cooperation in defence sectors important both to Lithuania and Belarus. "We live in the same region and share an over 600 km-long state border as well as mutual interests," said Lithuanian Minister after the signing of the agreement. "We are making a historical step by signing the first defence agreement between Lithuania and Belarus", R. Jukneviciene added.
Belarusian Defence Minister said that Lithuanian and Belarus have been developing coherent cooperation since 2005, annual cooperation plans are formulated on a regular basis, the newly signed agreement provides juridical basis and possibilities to further expand defence cooperation and move forward at a more dynamic pace.
Lt Gen Yuri Zhadobin invited Lithuanian National Defence Minister to conduct an official visit in Belarus next year.
The guest will also visit the Joint Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces where he will get acquainted with activity of the institution, Lithuania's participation in multinational operations, system of training troops before multinational deployments.
Defence Minister Lt Gen Yuri Zhadobin is also planned to visit Gen Jonas Zemaitis Lithuanian Military Academy where the guest will deliver a lecture to officers, teachers and cadets of the Academy about the Belarusian Armed Forces, its history and present condition.
Embassy of Lithuania in Minsk has been serving as contact Embassy for NATO since 2004: specialists of the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence provides consultations to the Belarusian Armed Forces in the course of implementing NATO partnership objectives. In the beginning of the next year Lithuania will hand over that function to the Embassy of France in Minsk.