MINSK, 3 January (BelTA) – On 1 January 2013 the Embassy of Estonia became the NATO contact point embassy in Belarus, BelTA learnt from the French Embassy in Minsk.
The Embassy of France was the NATO contact point embassy in Belarus in 2011-2012.
Since the early 1990s NATO has established a network of contact point embassies to promote activities through partnerships and public diplomacy in the countries participating in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), Partnership for Peace (PFP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). In each partner country there is an embassy of one of the NATO members, which serves as the Nato liaison. Before France these functions were performed by the Embassy of Lithuania in Minsk.
Contact point embassies work closely with the Nato Public Diplomacy Division in providing information on the objectives and activities of the Alliance in the host country, and also provide assistance to the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division (PASP) in the activities organized within the framework of the EAPC, PFP, MD and ICI.
CPEs are not NATO's diplomatic missions in the host country. Yet they play an important role in disseminating information on the activities of the organization. NATO member countries have their embassies in partner countries to serve as contact point embassies voluntarily for a period of two years.