To direct the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual report on exports of weapons and related services by the Government of Belarus and Belarusian enterprises and related matters.

Bill Number: 
H.R.4436
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Relevant Text: 

Belarus Arms Transfers Accountability Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)

HR 4436 IH

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4436

To direct the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual report on exports of weapons and related services by the Government of Belarus and Belarusian enterprises and related matters.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 13, 2010

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN (for herself, Mr. MCCOTTER, Mr. GALLEGLY, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. MACK, Mr. INGLIS, Mr. WOLF, Mr. LINDER, and Mr. LAMBORN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To direct the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual report on exports of weapons and related services by the Government of Belarus and Belarusian enterprises and related matters.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Belarus Arms Transfers Accountability Act of 2009'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
      (1) The Congressional Research Service has estimated that Belarus exported arms officially valued at $1,000,000,000 between 1999 and 2006, making it the eleventh largest exporter of arms in the world.

      (2) According to some reports the actual value of arms exports by Belarus may exceed such totals, since public agreements for arms sales by Belarus may not include secret agreements made by officials of the Government of Belarus and its state-owned entities. In a report to Congress in March 2006, the Department of State reported that `. . . many arms sales [from Belarus] are made without consideration by relevant security organs of the Belarusian government'.

      (3) In a report to Congress in March 2006, submitted in accordance with the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-347), the Department of State reported the following:

        (A) `Belarus has continued to export significant quantities of defense articles, dual-use items and other military equipment and technology.'.

        (B) `There have been numerous reports of Belarusian sales or delivery of weapons or weapons-related technologies to states of concern, including state sponsors of terrorism.'.

        (C) `There are signs that Belarusian authorities are undertaking efforts to expand relations with some countries of concern.'.
      (4) According to published reports, Belarus has been a significant supplier of rockets, mortars, antitank weapons, and mines to Palestinian extremist groups and to state sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran and Syria, as well as Mi-24 helicopters, artillery systems and Russian-origin armored combat vehicles to the Government of Sudan, tanks to the communist regime in North Korea, and military aircraft and aircraft engines to Iran.

      (5) In April and September 2004, the United States imposed sanctions on the Belarusian entity `Belvneshpromservice' pursuant to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178) based on its transfer to Iran of items having the potential of making a material contribution to weapons of mass destruction or cruise or ballistic missile systems.

      (6) In May 2005, the Belarusian parliament ratified a security agreement with Iran, after an earlier visit to Belarus by the then-leader of Iran, Mohammed Khatami, during whose visit Belarusian regime leader Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that Belarus was ready to cooperate with Iran `in all directions'.

      (7) Speaking with regard to arms sales to Syria, Aleksandr Lukashenko reportedly stated `No matter how severely we are admonished for it, we will continue to help Syria militarily because they have promised to help us in the same way.'.

      (8) Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez maintains strong relationships with Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and Syria, all states designated by the United States as state sponsors of terrorism.

      (9) In May 2006 and each year since, the Department of State has determined that Venezuela is not cooperating fully with United States anti-terrorism efforts.
      (10) In the summer of 2006, Venezuela's ambassador to Cuba visited Belarus and described the United States as a `common enemy' and Hugo Chavez made an official visit to Belarus.

      (11) Subsequently, in September 2006, it was reported that Belarus and Venezuela announced that a proposed military contract between the two countries in the amount of $1,000,000,000 was under consideration.

      (12) While Belarus possessed large stockpiles of weapons inherited from the former Soviet regime, questions have been raised as to whether such stockpiles still remain the source of much of the weaponry exported by Belarus, eighteen years later, or have instead been largely exhausted through earlier sales.

      (13) The Government of the Russian Federation has offered no cooperation to the United States in dissuading Belarus from sales of its arms to state sponsors of terrorism and other parties in conflict, instead increasing its military cooperation with Belarus.

      (14) An editor of `Jane's Air-Launched Weapons', Mr. Robert Hewson, stated recently that a Russian sale of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran was to go through Belarus and that `Belarus is the proxy route whenever Russia wants to deny it is doing the sale. But nothing happens along that route without Moscow saying so.'.

      (15) In May 2009, media reports stated that Russia is planning to sell its S-300 missile systems to Iran and Syria via Belarus.
      (16) In June 2009, a high-level Israeli official strongly cautioned Belarus against strengthening ties with Iran.

      (17) In March 2008, Belarusian press reports stated that Belarusian military specialists would take part in the creation for Venezuela of an advanced air defense system with the potential to employ the Russian-made S-300 missile system.

      (18) The Russian-made S-300 is one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world, capable of destroying missiles and aircraft at ranges of about 90 miles and at altitudes of approximately 90,000 feet.

      (19) Reports indicate that Belarus had already purchased multiple S-300 systems from Russia at a fraction of their estimated value.

      (20) In March 2008, a member of Venezuela's National Assembly, Mr. Abel El Zabayar, visited Iran and stated that Venezuela had begun discussions with Belarus and Iran on nuclear cooperation.

      (21) The planned deployment by Venezuela of an advanced air defense system, such as the S-300 missile system, in conjunction with Venezuela's reported growing nuclear cooperation with Belarus and Iran raises disturbing similarities to the pattern of reported sales arrangements of the S-300 missile system by Russia to Iran at a time of Russian cooperation in the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities.

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--

      (1) the Secretary of State should take into consideration the continuing reports of arms sales by Belarus to state sponsors of terrorism and states that do not fully cooperate with the United States in its anti-terrorism efforts, as well as any information gathered in the process of drafting the report to the appropriate congressional committees required under this Act, and carefully consider whether the imposition of existing terrorism and nonproliferation sanctions would be appropriate to deter any such arms sales by Belarus; and

      (2) any use by Iran of nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries as a means to proliferate weapons technology and expertise to countries such as Venezuela, either directly or by means of arrangements with Belarus or other countries would not be in the interest of the United States.

SEC. 4. REPORT.

    (a) In General- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and on annual basis thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that describes, with respect to the preceding 12-month period, the following:

      (1) The scale and modalities of exports of weapons and related services by the Government of Belarus and Belarusian enterprises, including revenues flows, and the potential role of the government and enterprise of the Russian Federation in such exports and revenues.
      (2) The status of the stockpiles of weapons inherited by Belarus from the former Soviet regime, including a determination as to the role such stockpiles may continue to play in the export of weapons by Belarus, and an assessment of the capability of Belarusian enterprises to manufacture conventional and advanced weaponry and provide services for such sales.

      (3) A determination as to whether nuclear cooperation agreements and activities involving Iran, Belarus, or Venezuela are being used as a means to proliferate nuclear arms technology and expertise.

      (4) The sale or delivery of weapons or weapons-related technologies from Belarus to any country that is designated as a state sponsor of terrorism or not fully cooperating with United States antiterrorism efforts for purposes of section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act, including Venezuela.

    (b) Form- The report shall be in an unclassified form but may include a classified annex.

SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
      (1) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES- The term `appropriate congressional committees' means the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

      (2) STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM- The term `state sponsor of terrorism' means a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined, for purposes of section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, or any other provision of law, to be a government that has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.