This has been announced by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Belarus, H.E. Mr. Michel Raineri. He says that the Embassy of France has been acting as NATO representative office in Belarus since January 1st, 2011. He explains that various NATO delegations visit Belarus, with the Embassy of France assisting in arranging visits and meetings. A NATO delegation visited Belarus in January and, in May, NATO officials are expected to visit the country again to discuss future Belarus-NATO co-operation. Mr. Raineri underlines that general matters of Belarus-NATO future co-operation are to be discussed in Brussels.
Providing information on NATO activities is one of the major tasks of the French Embassy to Minsk. The diplomat stresses that, since the early 1990s, NATO has developed a network of contact embassies to assist partnership and public diplomacy to member-states of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), to members of the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP), of the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI). Each NATO partner-country has an embassy of one of NATO member-states, allowing it to distribute information on the role and policy of the North Atlantic Alliance. Before France took up this role in Minsk, the Embassy of Lithuania performed these functions.
Mr. Raineri emphasises that contact embassies are in close co-operation with NATO Public Diplomacy Division, providing information on the policy and purposes of the North Atlantic Alliance to each country, while assisting the NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy Division in arranging EAPC, PfP, MD and ICI events. He notes that NATO member-states’ diplomatic missions in partner-countries voluntarily fulfil the obligations of contact embassies for a two year period. The final decision on the appointment of a contact embassy is taken by NATO major managerial body: the North Atlantic Council. The Public Diplomacy Division closely co-ordinates the work of contact embassies.
The Embassy of France will act as NATO representative office in Belarus from 2011-2012.