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Senator Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2006


(Washington, DC) - Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) today welcomed President Bush’s transmission of reports on the sale or delivery of weapons and weapons-related technologies and on the personal assets and wealth of the senior Belarusian leadership. The reports were mandated by the Belarus Democracy Act, sponsored by Smith, and signed into law President Bush in October 2004. The unclassified portion clearly indicates a pattern of Belarusian sales or delivery of weapons or weapons-related technologies to states of concern, including state sponsors of terrorism.

“I am especially concerned about the Belarusian Parliament’s ratification of a security cooperation agreement with Iran last May and the Belarusian authorities’ public suggestions that Belarus and Iran increase their nuclear cooperation, as well as links to Syria, Sudan and other rogue regimes,” said Chairman Brownback.

Co-Chairman Smith added: “The report’s finding that there is credible information that the Lukashenka regime abuses public resources comes as no surprise and is consistent with the behavior of a dictatorship whose priority is clearly not the welfare of the Belarusian people. Instead, the report makes clear that Lukashenka has made relations with the regimes of Iran, Sudan and Syria more of a priority.”

Among the key points of the unclassified report are:

• Lukashenka’s abuse of public resources places him among the world’s most corrupt leaders with assets potentially worth billions of dollars.
• Lukashenka and other high officials maintain slush funds for their personal use that is funded by secret arms sales to rogue regimes, profits from the transit of oil and gas, confiscated goods, and the skimming of state contracts.
• Arms sales are unilaterally approved by the Belarusian Presidential Administration. Knowledge of these deals is often is kept from others in the Belarusian Government, including the Parliament.
• Belarus has aided, through the sales of substantial weapons systems, the regime in Sudan responsible for genocide
• Belarus has sold WMD-related technologies to Iran.
• Under Lukashenka, Belarus has strengthened high-level ties with bastions of tyranny throughout the world including the Iraqi Government under Saddam Hussein, Syria, Sudan and Iran.

The report can be found here on the Department of State’s website.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members of the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Media Contact: Sean Woo
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