NATO restricts HQ access for Belarusian diplomats

Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old dissident journalist, and his partner were taken into custody after the landing on May 23, prompting a raft of measures by the European Union, including restricted access to the bloc’s airspace for Belarusian carriers…reports Asian Lite News.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that members of Belarus’ diplomatic mission to the alliance will have restricted access at its headquarters due to “our assessment of security measures”.

“We have decided to restrict the access of Belarusian personnel to the NATO headquarters based on our assessment of security measures at the headquarters,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Monday ahead of a NATO Defence and Foreign Ministers meeting here on Tuesday.

Belarus is not a member of NATO, but it, however, has had ties with the military alliance since 1992.

Stoltenberg’s remarks came more than a week after Belarusian authorities dispatched a fighter jet to force a Ryanair flight to divert to Minsk, where a dissident journalist who was on board was then arrested along with his girlfriend.

Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old dissident journalist, and his partner were taken into custody after the landing on May 23, prompting a raft of measures by the European Union, including restricted access to the bloc’s airspace for Belarusian carriers.

The Foreign and Defence Ministers of the 30 NATO countries held two video conferences on Tuesday ahead of a summit later this month.

It was earlier reported that a raft of reform ideas first presented late last year by the alliance’s chief, as well as the allies’ planned withdrawal from Afghanistan in the coming months after nearly two decades on the ground would dominate the two meetings.

Ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg appealed for allies to “spend more together” on common defence initiatives.

Along with boosting internal consultation, this is one of the main proposals for modernising the institution, which has been repeatedly rocked by strong disagreements in recent years.

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Stoltenberg told the media on Monday he is confident leaders will sign off a reform agenda at the June 14 leaders’ meeting, the first since US President Joe Biden took over from his predecessor Donald Trump.

Allies present in Afghanistan must also determine exactly how their cooperation with the government in Kabul will continue once NATO and partner countries’ remaining 10,000 or so troops leave.

Stoltenberg recently announced that government security forces could be trained outside Afghanistan in future.

NATO wants to maintain financial support for the security forces and to offer advice.

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