The Belarusian Foreign Minister has announced that Belarus is to eliminate its stockpiles of highly enriched uranium, with completion scheduled to be complete by the time the next Nuclear Security Summit is held, in 2012. The USA plans to provide technical and financial assistance to support the fulfilment of these measures as expeditiously as possible.
The US Secretary of State approvingly notes Belarus’ decision as a sign of progress in efforts to advance nuclear security and non-proliferation and welcomes the Republic of Korea’s intention to invite Belarus to take part in the Nuclear Security Summit in 2012. By adopting this decision, Belarus is joining the USA in its international efforts to convert nuclear facilities to the use of fuels containing low levels of uranium: a world standard of the 21st century. Both sides have pledged to continue co-operation in ensuring energy security, including security upgrades at the Joint Institute for Power and Nuclear Research at Belarus’ NAS.
Mr. Martynov and Mrs. Clinton have pledged to strengthen global collaboration in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, in line with international standards and other additional bilateral agreements, which may be reached between Belarus and the USA. Belarus has also announced its intention to diversify its energy supply by constructing its first nuclear power station for civil purposes. The USA supports this effort, which includes a competitive process for the design and construction of a safe, secure plant operating under IAEA safeguards. The USA also supports Belarus’ efforts to complete this commercial project as expeditiously as possible.
Welcoming progress regarding these global security issues, Belarus and the USA have acknowledged that enhanced respect for democracy and human rights in Belarus remains central to improving bilateral relations, and is essential to achieving progress in the country and for its citizens. The United States hopes to see substantial progress in these areas, particularly in the conduct of the December presidential elections in Belarus, with them meeting international standards. In this respect, Belarus’ decision to invite a robust international monitoring presence to observe these elections is a positive step.