Aleksandr Lukashenko gives interview to Mir Interstate TV and Radio Company

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko attaches big importance to the further existence of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The head of state made the statement at the interview to the Mir Interstate TV and Radio Company.

    The President of Belarus was asked about various aspects of home and foreign policy, Belarus’ involvement in integration associations, relations with Russia and CIS countries, the European Union.

    When asked what the CIS has achieved in 20 years of existence, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “The primary achievement is that after the collapse of the USSR we did not go our own ways and understood what world we live in and what we should do in the future.”

    According to the Belarusian President, the CIS was the foundation, on which all integration associations of a tighter nature have relied upon in the post-Soviet space. “The union of Belarus and Russia was the first one. We decided it was necessary to move on to the second phase – to build the Union State. After that the Eurasian Economic Community emerged that sprouted the Single Economic Space primarily thanks to the efforts of the Russian Federation. The CSTO is a military-political bloc,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “A platform to discuss the most serious political issues of mutual interest has remained in the CIS. This is the role I would give to the CIS. Therefore, the CIS significance is very big,” the head of state is convinced.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus will initiate Georgia’s re-accession to the Commonwealth of Independent States.

    “Indeed, we have good economic relations with Georgia and the Russian Federation, though there are incommensurable volumes. We also had political contacts with Georgia; despite we always backed the Russian Federation in all the conflicts. We had these political contacts and we are grateful to Mikheil Saakashvili and all Georgian politicians who supported us in the international arena,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “It seems to me that next year the CIS summit will most probably convene in Minsk. Therefore, I will act in every way to initiate Georgia’s return to the CIS. It will be my function if Minsk is chosen as the summit’s venue,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “It is a small burden for Georgian politicians. If Saakashvili’s party had won, I am convinced that Mikheil Saakashvili would have been a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States next year. Belarus will work in this area. We should not lose Georgia,” the Belarusian head of state stressed.

    Speaking about the benefits of integration within the framework of the Single Economic Space, the President pointed out the export focus of the Belarusian economy. “If we faced trade barriers just like it was with Russia, then our economy suffered considerable perceptible losses,” he said.

    “These barriers made our economy suffer. They do not anymore, not to a large extent,” the head of state said. “Some other parties may happen to want to introduce some provisos, some new rules for something. Russia’s accession to the WTO has affected the situation as well. We may not see all the problems yet but we feel there will be some. But they can be overcome. Sooner or later we will do it,” the President added.

    “But these barriers are gone. Economic operators can freely trade in this space. There is freedom for business and enterprises. In other words, the economy is starting to work as if it were one country. You must agree that the achievement is worth a lot. Belarus has received it just like Russia and Kazakhstan have,” the President added.

    The Mir Interstate TV and Radio Company was founded in December 1992. It was co-founded by CIS countries. The company provides coverage of the political, economic, and humanitarian cooperation matters in the CIS.

    The MIR Interstate TV and Radio Company is headquartered in Moscow. National offices operate in nine countries. In 1997 the company launched the Mir-Belarus radio station.