Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with heads of delegations partaking in CIS Heads of Government Council session

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Belarus views the Commonwealth of Independent States as an important, useful and relevant interstate association that helps resolve the issues facing its member states, President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with heads of the delegations taking part in the session of the CIS Heads of Government Council in Minsk on 30 May.

Aleksandr Lukashenko admitted that the CIS is going through a difficult period now.

“These days we often hear about new conflicts and hostilities on the post-Soviet space. More and more often we come across cynical comments of “well-wishers” who say that the CIS is useless,” the Belarusian President remarked.

“Probably, sometimes important decisions are not made fast and synchronized enough. If it is really so, we need to work on it. However, it would be wrong to indiscriminately berate all our achievements,” the Belarusian leader believes.

According to the President, no matter what some people might say about the CIS, the advantages of this organization are obvious. It was the CIS that gave citizens of the Commonwealth an opportunity to travel freely within the CIS. It was mainly due to the CIS that the member states established regular contacts between their border, customs, rescue and other agencies. “Keeping in mind our goal to improve the wellbeing of people, we put a lot of effort into expanding economic cooperation. Businessmen appreciated the CIS free trade agreement. The work on the free trade agreement on services is in full swing,” the Belarusian head of state noted.

“Finally, if not the CIS, could we today discuss multi-level integration? No, we could not,” the President said. He empasized that it was the CIS that laid a foundation for the Eurasian Economic Community, the Single Economic Space and the Eurasian Economic Union. In his opinion, the role of the CIS here is distinct and clear.

The Belarusian head of state said that the CIS serves as a basis for political and economic cooperation, where each member state can choose a cooperation field it is most interested in.

“I have always said that there is no need to destroy things that we already have,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked. In his words, the CIS is a good platform for negotiations and discussions. The Belarusian believes that it is a bad idea to make hasty steps to leave the Commonwealth of Independent States.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the Ukrainian side “has an understanding that there is definitely no rush if anything has to be done in this regard”. “Because it is much more difficult to get back after making certain steps. It is difficult to keep one’s face and some other problems may emerge… Therefore, I encourage you to never rush to leave this normal platform of interaction,” the Belarusian President emphasized.

“We speak the same language, think roughly the same ways. These years, the decades we have lived together are not going to go away. Thank God for this experience. Every state and its leadership have their own peculiarities, their own interests but the relevant organizations, forums exist for the sake of settling things, making decisions and securing one’s own interests,” the Belarusian leader noted.

The President suggested reconsidering the role of the CIS in relations between the member states.

“Time does not stand still. We have seen dramatic changes, increased instability in international relations, including in the former Soviet Union. I am sure that we all want to see the Eurasian region stable and prosperous,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko invited heads of government delegations to share the opinions on this issues and other problems of the Commonwealth.

He reminded that the CIS development was discussed in Minsk a year ago. “When the need arose due to well-known events in March 2014 we agreed to take over the chairmanship in the CIS without a second thought,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The President emphasized that, despite the fact that Belarus undertook the CIS chairmanship without prior arrangement, the country is very responsible about its duties and expects the same from the CIS Executive Committee, the member states.

He expressed hope that the session of the CIS Heads of Government Council, which later will be held in Minsk, will be a proof of this. “The functioning of the CIS during at least the coming year will largely depend on what kind of tone you, prime ministers, will set at the meeting. Today’s decisions will determine the practical results that we will have by the next CIS summit at the presidents’ level in Minsk in October 2014,” the Belarusian President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that at the meeting on 29 May the presidents took the decision to hold the Eurasian Economic Union summit prior to the CIS heads of state meeting. The Belarusian leader took note of some issues that require discussion.

The President reminded that 2014 has been declared the Year of Hospitality in Belarus. A number of important events have been scheduled to take place in the country in this respect. Some of them have already been held. Thus, in May Minsk hosted a big international sporting forum, the IIHF World Championship. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Belarus is inspired by its positive assessment. “We pledged to make this tournament the best in its history. Distinguished guests and representatives of various countries and the international federation were unanimous that this championship was the best. I assure you it will be impossible to repeat it,” the Belarusian leader said. The games were attended by over 650,000 people. Hospitality areas and fan zones were visited by more than 2 million people. The President also views it as an achievement that the crime rate during the championship in Minsk was half as high as in other days. “It speaks volumes and it looks a bit strange that we try to analyze this phenomenon,” the head of state added.

In a month Belarus  will celebrate another important event, namely the 70th anniversary of the liberation from Nazi invasion. “It is a sacred day, glory and joy which we would like to share with your nations. We were able to win together, as one big family,” the President said addressing the heads of government delegations.