Russia ratifies military cooperation treaty with Belarus

MOSCOW, December 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's Council of Federation, or upper house of the national parliament, on Wednesday ratified a Russian-Belarusian treaty on military technical cooperation, which was signed in Moscow on December 10, 2009.

The treaty regulates supplies of military products to national armies, law enforcement agencies and secret services. Such products include weapons, military hardware, results of intellectual activity, and information.

These products will be supplied under contracts signed by the parties' authorized organizations without export and import licenses. These products will be exported or imported under customs laws of each country and will be exempt from customs duties.

Under the treaty, each party undertakes not to sell or transfer such products or information obtained under the treaty to any third party, including international organizations, foreign legal entities or private individuals. These provisions, along with the ones stipulating control of the use of such products and protection of intellectual activity, will survive the expiration of the treaty unless the parties agree otherwise. The treaty lays no limitations to the parties' rights and liabilities under other international agreements, it may by amended through separate protocols, and disputes that may arise under it are subject to be settled through consultations or talks.

Now that the treaty is ratified, Russia's defence enterprises will be able to establish direct business contacts with enterprises in Belarus.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Russian-Belarusian trade in defence-related products is not stable: thus, it amounted to 33 million U.S. dollars in 2009, while this year's plans provided to about 29 million U.S. dollars, although it is expected that the planned figure will ultimately be exceeded.

The treaty is expected to encourage modernization of the defence sector of the two countries.


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