Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev 

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee - CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev on 22 October.The meeting took place in the run-up to the session of the CIS Council of Heads of State that is scheduled for 25 October. Belarus will play host to the event as it assumed the CIS presidency this year. Aleksandr Lukashenko and Sergei Lebedev discussed preparations and conduct of this important forum.The head of state underlined that Minsk has always been a great place for integration talks. “I think time will come and we will engage in a dialogue about the integration of integrations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.The President explained that he meant the European Union, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, neighbors in the East and West. “I really hope it will happen. And if it does, Minsk will be a great place for such meetings,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.“We are facing quite a challenge now – an important event, the session of the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States will take place in a couple of days. It will be preceded by the economic forum of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space where fundamental issues will be discussed. Maybe, other CIS states will follow suit. At least, we suggest it to the former USSR republics, especially Ukraine. Kyrgyzstan and Armenia are also willing to join our “Troika”. The matter will also be discussed on 24 October,” the President said.Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the agenda had been formalized. The President noted: “We could raise more important issues, but we are not sure that we will come to terms on them”.The draft documents to be discussed by the heads of state are now undergoing approval procedures.“You can see the tremendous work that has been done over the past year to host this summit in the best way. The summit will be held in the Palace of Independence, which is symbolic in a way,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.The President emphasized the importance of maintaining Minsk’s image as a driving force of integration.Sergei Lebedev underlined that Minsk has been called the CIS capital for a long time, because it is home to the CIS headquarters. In the following days the city will become the true capital of the CIS because it will welcome the CIS heads of state, foreign ministers and will host very important meetings of high-profile officials who will make important decisions.Sergei Lebedev pointed to Belarus’ readiness to host the summits. In his view, the Belarusian President is very interested in meaningful and well-organized discussions.Aleksandr Lukashenko and Sergei Lebedev discussed the preparations for the forthcoming summit in Minsk, including its agenda.Sergei Lebedev informed that the agenda of the meeting of the CIS presidents features 14 important matters covering all cooperation areas, including economy, humanitarian field and security.The heads of state will discuss cooperation programs related to joint efforts to combat terrorism, illegal trade in narcotic drugs and human trafficking.The summit will highlight humanitarian matters. The presidents will discuss suggestions on the CIS cultural capitals for 2014. The CIS Humanitarian Cooperation Council suggests granting this status to Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Osh (Kyrgyzstan).Sergei Lebedev informed that Chairperson of the Council of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly Valentina Matviyenko will speak about Assembly’s efforts to strengthen and promote integration.The CIS has plans to declare the year 2015 the Year of the Veterans of the Great Patriotic War, which will be timed to the 70th anniversary of the Victory. The CIS presidents are to approve this decision at the summit in Minsk.Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus is prepared for the summits and is determined to conduct them at the highest level and with maximum efficiency.