Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Grigory Rapota 15 March

    In a meeting with State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota on 15 March, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed hope for further expansion of cooperation within the Union State of Belarus and Russia.

    “I am glad we will be working together to give further headway to the Union State project,” the President said addressing Grigory Rapota.

    According to the head of state, the parties should define approaches to enhance the level of cooperation in the Union State. “We will find the areas necessary for adding momentum to the Union State development,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

    “I talked to the newly-elected President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, not long ago, and his first words were: “We need to continue our integration.” Indeed, time, situation show that we do not need to look around to learn what they think about us. We need to care about our people and what they, in Russia and Belarus, think about us," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “I am prepared to discuss the main areas of our activities right to the convocation of the Supreme State Council and a set of issues that are pressing today for the Belarus-Russia Union State,” the President said.

    Grigory Rapota, in turn, said that it is extremely important for him to hear the opinion of the President of Belarus who is also the head of the Supreme State Council.

    According to him, currently work is underway to review the situation as the work in the SES has intensified. “We need to understand the place of the Union State in the integration structure and in the CIS in general,” Grigory Rapota said.

    In addition, he noted that work is also underway to analyze the situation after Russia acceded into the WTO to make sure the Union State should benefit from it.

    One of the issues on the agenda was expanding the list of mechanisms to promote cooperation in the Union State. In particular, there is such a well-established form of interaction as Union State programs. However, Grigory Rapota pointed out the relative complexity of the mechanism of development of such programs. Another form of cooperation is various kinds of events: forums, seminars and conferences that allow involving the expert community in the process of addressing various issues in the development of the Union State.

    However, Grigory Rapota said that projects are another form of cooperation that is envisaged in all the documents but has not received adequate development yet. Projects can be implemented either through private or public funds as well as within the public-private partnership. Aleksandr Lukashenko supported the approach to enhance cooperation including in this area.

    The meeting also focused on the necessity to forge cooperation in such fields as high technologies, microelectronics, space exploration, petrochemistry, machine-building, and agriculture.

    The sides will also draw attention to the development of the social sector. Now people of the two countries enjoy equal rights to healthcare services, education, etc.

    As the head of the Supreme State Council, the President of Belarus insisted on the need to hold sessions of the Council of Ministers and the Supreme State Council on a regular basis. In the near future the Council of Ministers of the Union State will discuss a number of urgent issues. There are also plans to hold the session of the Supreme State Council in H2 2012.