Belarus and Russia have made tremendous progress in the development of cooperation, including through the Union State project, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on 20 December.
The head of state stressed that the countries have made significant achievements in social sector and in economy. “A lot has been done. For some reason, we do not always talk about what has been done. We have achieved a lot, not only in social matters, for our people. We have done a lot in economy," the President said.
head of state noted that Belarus and Russia have created the common
defense space, air defense, a group of forces, and the common security
“Russia has no problems with flying over Belarus. We have always acted in good faith. We have never had any issues with air transport. Our airports operate very efficiently. Even regional ones cooperate well," the President added.
“We have never had complaints with regard to our diplomatic agencies. There is the common border, customs in the west. Some 110 million tonnes of cargo is transported from east to west and from west to east through Belarus, which implies the common customs, the border," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
He also noted that Belorusneft returned to work in Russia. It provides maintenance services reviving old fields and also produces oil together with other companies.
The progress is tremendous. Today Belarus buys from you not only raw materials but also component parts. More than 10 million work at enterprises in Russia, with which Belarusian companies cooperate manufacturing end products. We usually multiply this figure by 4, keeping families in mind. Very many people work for the bilateral trade and joint production cooperation,” the Belarusian leader said.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we have not swayed away far from each other in economic, political and social sectors. This is also a great achievement of this treaty [the Union State Treaty]. If we have not implemented the document in full, this does not mean that we have gone separate ways, as it happened with, for example, Russia and other former Soviet Union countries (not only with the Baltic States or Ukraine). This the achievement we have made in recent years. But you are right: we still have something to work on,” the head of state said.
Vladimir Putin stated that the meeting was taking place ahead of the EAEU and CIS summits. “On 8 December, we marked 20 years since the signing of the Union State Treaty. I would like to say that although not everything has been done yet, the progress has been significant. When we launched the process, the trade was $9 billion. Today it is $35.5 billion. This is a tangible result. We have also solved many issues in the social sector,” the Russian President said.
He also stressed that the experience gained by Belarus and Russia as part of the Union State was widely used by other integration associations, including the EAEU.
“I know that our colleagues have been actively working after our previous meeting [in Sochi on 7 December]. We are very glad to welcome you to continue this discussion,” the Russian leader added.