Strong border will bring benefits for everyone
The President arrived in the State Border Committee for an expanded session, which seriously tackled the results of the border service and plans for the nearest future. Mr. Lukashenko pointed out that there was nothing extraordinary about such form of work. However, the border guards should perceive the fact of the President’s arrival as a very clear signal. Mr. Lukashenko personally attends those structures and organisations from which he expects greater efficiency and return benefits
By Vasily Kharitonov
“The situation in the Border Committee is not what I, as the Head of State, would like it to be,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “We’ve discussed much with the last two heads of the border agency, yet there are still many tasks that are not addressed now,” noted Mr. Lukashenko.
Now, this is the sphere of responsibility of the new Chairman of the State Border Committee. Moreover, the Belarusian leader explained why Leonid Maltsev was appointed to this position. Mr. Lukashenko reminded that some time ago he had a face-to-face talk after the incident connected with order violation at the border. The President partially disclosed the essence of that conversation, “It was all too much. I told Leonid Maltsev back then, ‘if another incident like that happens, either you or I will have to go there and deal with it’. He told me that it was not a thing that the President should do, so he would go. After another incident occurred, Leonid Maltsev kept his promise. That is the reason why Colonel General Leonid Maltsev took charge of the border agency. He went there in order to identify the challenges and flaws and to remove them. He will fulfil the task of the President whatever the cost.”
The President also informed those in attendance to the following, “Border troops are special. They act under battle conditions. Border troops are already fulfilling their combat tasks, and this is their peculiarity. Most important, is that your failures and flaws on the last metre of our land can lead to far-reaching consequences for the entire country.”
The Commander-in-Chief was also interested in the development of border services, and wondered how his instructions are fulfilled, how the border troops are doing, what problems persist and how they should be tackled. These are vital issues, taking into account that they made the basis for the draft law on the provision of border security and this doesn’t mean that there’s no need to improve the service before its adoption.
“We need to admit that not all our plans are duly fulfilled. It is obvious, even at a glance, that the border agency has not always been able to provide an adequate response to new challenges or to the changes in the operational situation at the border. Everybody should realise that border security is not a gift from above. It is not a matter of course. The border troops play a central role here. However, it is impossible to do without the well-coordinated and coherent efforts of all involved state-run agencies,” underlined the President.
According to Mr. Lukashenko, overall, the State Border Committee is fulfilling its duties. However, ‘the current situation prompts us to ramp up our efforts to respond to modern-day challenges and threats’.
Moreover, the purpose of the Belarusian border guards has also changed in recent time, and the President paid special attention to this saying that, “We’re always in the forefront, and here we defend our interests, as well as the interests of Russia and Kazakhstan. You need to perform responsibly, as you are also in contact with the West and NATO.”
Leonid Maltsev then reported on the results of activity of the State Border Committee in 2013, the major approaches for border protection in 2014, as well as on the interaction of border guards with other state agencies and the use of contemporary technical means. The Chairman of the State Border Committee particularly expanded on the topic of the preparation for the Ice Hockey World Championship.
The session also tackled the work of border guards on the Lithuanian border, the development of railway and aviation checkpoints and the activity of border commissions. Finishing the conversation, the Commander-in-Chief reminded everyone of the necessity to optimise forces and resources, “We need to remove non-essential services from the State Border Committee, and use this as an example for other agencies. Optimisation is necessary. All these maintenance services, departments, military units, and groups need to be removed in the interests, and for the benefit of the state border.”
According to the President, the World Championship is an important event but ‘the tournament will end, and we have to use what we have created for the benefit of our people and our state’.
Mr. Lukashenko also gave separate instructions regarding measures to strengthen Belarus’ weight as a guarantor of stability and security on the common border with the European Union. “We need to make better use of the EU’s interest in a strong border with Belarus. We need to carry out a number of events in this direction. They should see that we combat illegal migration, smuggling and the transportation of radioactive substances. We need to show them our importance,” emphasised the Belarusian leader.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lukashenko revealed that inspections of the Armed Forces will be followed by a large-scale inspection of the border agency.