Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Speaker of Russia’s State Duma Sergei Naryshkin

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The Union State of Belarus and Russia helps enhance integration not only in the Single Economic Space, but also in the CIS, President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Sergei Naryshkin on 13 June.

The President is convinced that the Union State project will always be relevant.

“We openly say that the establishment of the Union State contributed to faster materialization of other integration projects, in particular the projects within the framework of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Unfortunately, integration within these projects is not as tight as integration between Belarus and Russia within the framework of the Union State. “But I think this is just a matter of the future. The experience we have gained all the way will be useful not only for the SES and the future Eurasian Union, but also for the CIS,” the President stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko sees sincere interest and progress in cooperation and integration at all the levels of the CIS. “Everybody could finally see that we are not so welcome abroad and that we should look for support here,” the President remarked.

The head of state pointed out that “new challenges constantly emerge, including some that we probably do not deserve: from economy to defense”.

“Recently, at all the levels, including at the level of the parliaments, we have been taking measures to stand up to these challenges. We proceed from the best interests and do not harm anyone; we are trying to spur economic growth”. He emphasized that Belarus, to say nothing of Russia, does not need other countries’ territories. The head of state noted that Belarus is not going to yield its own territory either. “Everyone should clearly understand that this will be the basis of our policy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

However, the President emphasized that there are some states that pursue their national policies taking into consideration the policies of the neighboring countries. “This pertains mostly to Central Asia and Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“Nevertheless, I am convinced that the future belongs to our post-Soviet space; the integration here will be most powerful and comprehensive. We need to be more determined and decisive, including in the parliamentary dimension. And the cooperation of Belarusian and Russian parliaments will be a good example for other states,” the President said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, within the framework of integration Belarus will pursue a very active policy: “We have never abandoned the idea and never will”.

The President also emphasized that Belarus will be always committed to cooperation with Russia. He said he believes that statements of individual politicians, including Russian ones, claiming that Belarus swings from one side to another all the time are unjustified.

Belarus has never done that, Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. The President explained that it has to be understood that Belarus is in between two giants – Russia and the European Union – and has to build relations with these conditions in mind.

The head of state continued: “We do not doubt and nor does Russia that Belarus is successful as a state. Since economy is important for us, we have to build normal relations with the European Union without damaging our ally and brotherly nation of Russia under any circumstances. It is unavoidable”. The head of state stressed that whoever is in power in Belarus, he or she will have to follow this policy.

The President is convinced that Belarus should move towards the European Union more actively, building relations: “We understand perfectly that our bad relations with Europe cannot benefit relations with Russia”.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that vigorous work is in progress as far as agreements with Russia are concerned.

“It is a sacred thing for us that we actively cooperate, particularly within the framework of the Union State. We will never abandon the policy,” the President assured. He remarked: “If we are forced to choose in favor of Russia or Europe or some other associations, we will never do it. Our policy is acting in line with our statements”.

The Speaker of the State Duma, for his part, conveyed greetings from President of Russia Vladimir Putin to Aleksandr Lukashenko and thanked him for the high estimate of Belarus-Russia parliamentary cooperation.

He assured that Russia is determined to achieve the highest level of integration with Belarus. “The State Duma of Russia thinks highly of the interstate and interparliamentary relations with Belarus. We are determined to maintain the integration with Belarus at the highest level,” Sergei Naryshkin said.

“We appreciate the efforts of Belarus and Aleksandr Lukashenko in particular to promote integration,” the Speaker of the State Duma said.

He pointed out the importance of the parliamentary dimension in these processes. “The role of the parliamentary dimension should not be downgraded. The parliaments should come to play a bigger role here,” the official said.