Belarus and Kazakhstan should step up efforts to overcome a recession in the trade and economic cooperation at the bilateral level and in the Eurasian Economic Union, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Nurlan Nigmatulin, the chairman of the lower chamber of the Kazakhstan parliament, on 17 March.
The President remarked that he had recently discussed the bilateral relations with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. “If everything is fine, we will meet with you at the SCO Summit (the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization), EXPO 2017 inKazakhstan,” he said.
Speaking about the forthcoming international EXPO 2017 in Astana, the President described it as a landmark event for the country and for the whole world. “I know that you have thoroughly prepared in this challenging time. It is great that Kazakhstan decided to host this event. It has been preparing for it several years,” the Belarusian leader noted.
In his words, Belarus is glad that Kazakhstan has contributed to the settlement of conflicts happening in the world, and is becoming a venue for negotiations. Alexander Lukashenko added that the visit of Nurlan Nigmatulin to Belarus will help promote parliamentary cooperation and deepen relations between the countries in general.
“We need to do a lot. Nursultan Abishevich [Nazarbayev] and I always say that, unfortunately, the trade in the Eurasian Economic Union and between the two countries is falling in spite of all our efforts. These pressure points have been determined. It is essential to step up efforts in these fields,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed. “The economy is the foundation of relations between the states. It is very bad if there are no trade and economic ties or if they are deteriorating. The most serious efforts should be taken to restore them.”
Belarus is also interested in Kazakhstan’s experience of conducting government reforms. “I observe, analyze, and study the results of activities (especially the activities of recent months) of your supreme authorities and, first of all, the President. This experience is very useful for us,” the head of state said. “Indeed, we study your experience in a very serious and attentive way. I think that these are very important steps for Kazakhstan. You take them, first of all, to preserve the stability and independence of your state.”
“You support all reforms, especially those concerning the state structure, the process of amending the Constitution, with concrete economic steps. It is very important. It is a good example for others,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, the changing of the Constitution and the transfer of authorities from the President to, for example, the government, as it happens in many counties, can sometimes cause people's discontent. “It is the other thing when you tell people why you do it and when you support it with concrete facts and future goals. This is what you are doing. And it is good that you preserve the unity of the country in this challenging time,” the President said.
The President remarked that the situation is not easy in the regions where Belarus and Kazakhstan are situated. “Difficult developments are happening around us. Certainly, your life and our life are not going to be calm any time soon,” he said. “Obviously, all ‘waves’ affect us in this or that way. We also understand it and know that it is not easy for Kazakhstan either, including during the time when our major partner is going through hard times. The pre-election campaign in Russia also has an impact.”
“We are concerned about our union, our countries, even in the short-term period, to say nothing of any strategic goals,” the President added.
Nurlan Nigmatulin, in turn, thanked Alexander Lukashenko for the meeting. “We view it as a sign of deep respect not only for the parliament of Kazakhstan but, first of all, for our President and the people of Kazakhstan. I would like to convey the best greetings from Nursultan Nazarbayev. He sincerely wished you and the people of Belarus prosperity and every success,” he said.
Nurlan Nigmatulin remarked that in 2017 Belarus and Kazakhstan mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Over the years, the two countries have established very close contacts, first of all, thanks to the efforts of the heads of state. He expressed confidence that the official visit of Nursultan Nazarbayev to Belarus which is scheduled for the autumn of 2017 will make a contribution to the development of bilateral relations.