Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said that it is possible to reach an agreement on disputable issues in Belarus-Russia relations as they met in the Kremlin on 25 December.
The Belarusian head of state agreed with the Russian President that some issues are inevitable in the bilateral relations as the two countries maintain extensive and comprehensive cooperation. “Let us be frank. No one has closer relations than Belarusians and Russians. Naturally, we are moving forward and on this way certain issues emerge. However, they are incomparable with the achievements that you mentioned citing statistics,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“Indeed, we can find common ground, because the delegations in attendance have held several rounds of negotiations. They know the issues inside and out and we are also well aware of the issues to be tackled today. It would be great to settle these issues so that we will not take the old problems into the new year,” the President said.
He expressed confidence that the parties will be able to find a solution that will benefit Belarusians and Russians.
The Belarusian head of state recalled the recent press conference by Vladimir Putin and called it a meaningful conversation with Russians. He emphasized that the topics mentioned during the press conference are important for Belarus, too, because the two countries are involved in common global issues. “Frankly speaking, some issues that we have did not originate here and were not caused by us. We are part of the global process. Therefore, the issues in the international trade, economy, politics, military matters have their impact on us. Therefore, no matter whether we want it or not, we are involved in these issues. However, they should be tackled,” the Belarusian leader said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that Belarus-Russia relations have been quite successful. In his words, last year the bilateral trade rose by more than 23% to exceed $32 billion. This year the growth stood at 12% over the previous year. “Belarus has accumulated a substantial amount of Russia’s FDI. Our cooperation is very diverse, which is particularly heartening. The bilateral cooperation encompasses manufacturing and agriculture and everything has been on the rise. Naturally, we have some issues. When cooperation is so extensive, some issues emerge. These issues have to do mostly with energy, however, a lot has been done in this regard, too,” the Russian President said.
“We have all reasons to be satisfied with what we have in our bilateral relations. We need to do our utmost to prevent any kinds of difficulties in the future. Despite some issues in these sectors, we have always managed to come up with solutions,” Vladimir Putin said.
Initially the meeting was attended by the members of the delegations. Then the heads of state held one-on-one negotiations.
The talks can be described as productive. The presidents discussed the entire spectrum of issues on the agenda. Speaking about the trade and economic cooperation, the sides agreed that the increase in the bilateral trade is a good thing. Other important issues on the agenda were gas prices, operation of the Belarusian oil processing sector amid Russia’s tax maneuver, export of foodstuffs on the Russian market. As a result, positions were reconciled on virtually all issues.
Besides, during the one-on-one meeting the presidents analyzed the agreements in the UnionState. The deemed it necessary to step up efforts in certain fields, for example, in harmonizing the industrial policy.
The heads of state agreed to hold another meeting by the end of the year to address pending issues. First of all, this is explained by the willingness of the Russian President to scrutinize certain issues and find the most appropriate solutions. The date of the meeting will be determined depending on the schedules of the heads of state.