Latvia and Belarus to sign defense agreement

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Belarus Defense Minister Lieutenant General Andrei Ravkov is coming to Latvia for a three-day visit during which time the neighboring countries will sign a defense cooperation agreement, the Latvian defense ministry announced December 5. 

As well as visiting military facilities including the National Armed Forces instructor's school in Cesis, Ravkov will meet Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Bergamanis December 6.

"During the visit it is planned to sign an agreement on defense cooperation between the Latvian Ministry of Defense and the Belarus Ministry of Defense. The agreement is intended to promote cooperation between both countries in the fields of international security and defense policy, airspace surveillance, arms control, NATO's Partnership for Peace program activities, military medicine, as well as environmental protection, cultural and sports activities in the armed forces," the ministry said in a press release.

The two countries have enjoyed "fruitful cooperation" since 2004, the ministry said, with a series of exchange visits and inspections taking place on both sides of the border.

The text of the agreement that will involve NATO member Latvia and Belarus will not be released, the ministry told LSM, saying that this was standard practice..

Large joint annual exercises involving Russian and Belarusian forces working together have in the past raised tensions between Belarus and its Baltic neighbors.

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