Summit of EurAsEC Interstate Councuil in Moscow

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On 20 March Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with the Mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, as part of his working visit to the Russian Federation.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus is ready for expanding trade and economic cooperation with Moscow. At the meeting with the Moscow mayor the sides had made strategic arrangements on future prospects of cooperation. They also agreed to set up a joint working group at the level of government to promote cooperation. “Within the framework of this group, I invited the group to come to Minsk, we will address all issues,” the head of state stressed.

When speaking about the Belarus-Moscow trade, which increased by over 26% to exceed $4.1 billion in 2011, the President said that the sides have not reached a historic high yet. "We once had a trade turnover of more than $5billion. Therefore we have space to grow into," the Belarusian head of state said.

“The most important thing for me was to hear that you believe Belarus is not a stranger for Moscow and we will cooperate with you as we did before, finding new steps in cooperation development. We are ready for it and trust me, you will not regret you went for this cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “We will do our best for Muscovites to buy our products with pleasure. In turn, we await Muscovites with big investments. We will be pleased to do our utmost to expand the cooperation,” the President added.

“I am thankful for your pragmatic and strategic treatment of these matters. You have agreed not to destroy what has evolved over the years, agreed to cooperate with Moscow at the level of the Belarusian government,” Aleksandr Lukashenko told Sergei Sobyanin.

The Moscow mayor, in turn, noted that Belarus and Moscow are connected by very close ties that have been built over the years. Sergei Sobyanin expressed confidence the sides will continue stepping up trade and economic cooperation. As an example he mentioned a major contract signed last year for the delivery of Belarusian trolleybuses to Moscow. In his words, tight ties in the area of culture and education have been preserved, too.

“We suggest signing a new present time plan of Belarus-Moscow relations for 2013-2016. I think it will be only right if these relations are built at a high level, at the level of the Belarusian government,” Sergei Sobyanin said.

In addition, the Moscow mayor remarked that landmark events will take place this year to underline the serious intention to promote the mutually beneficial ties. In his words, this year Belarus plans to open a new exhibition facility at the National Economy Achievement Exhibition. A large choice of Belarusian products will be put on display there. In October Belarus will host the Days of Moscow.

President Aleksandr Lukashenko also took part in an informal lunch on behalf of President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. The heads of state of the Eurasian Economic Community member nations, leaders of the observer states (Ukraine, Armenia, and Moldova) and Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin attended the event.

The heads of state continued to discuss cooperation matters that were on the agenda of the recent EurAsEC summit.

The same day the President of Belarus met with Naina Yeltsina, the spouse of the first President of Russia.

The Belarusian head of state once again congratulated Naina Yeltsina on her anniversary.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also gave an interview to the TV Company Russia Today. The interview touched upon the results of the EurAsEC summit in Moscow, Belarus’ view on the formation of the Single Economic Space, assessment of the effectiveness of the Customs Union, the justice of the sentence for terrorists and the venue for the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

"This is indeed politically loaded process which has nothing to do with sport. And if it happens, it will be a serious blow to the image of the International Ice Hockey Federation. Belarus deserved to host the tournament," President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on the possibility to change to venue for the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

As for the doubts of some Western mass media and politicians regarding the justice of the sentence for terrorists, the President said: "There were absolutely transparent proceedings from beginning to end. Russia's FSB, Israeli MOSSAD, and Interpol that were engaged in the investigation had neither questions nor doubts."

The interview touched upon the issues discussed at the meeting of the EurAsEC Interstate Council in Moscow. Top on the agenda was the draft agreement on the EurAsEC reorganization into a new integration union. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus supported the initiative and was ready to sign the document. However, it was not backed by other members.

Russia Today is the first English-speaking news channel that presents a Russian point of view on events in Russia and abroad. The TV channel delivers the most important political, economic, and public life news of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia 24/7.

The full version of the interview will be broadcast on Belarus 1 TV Channel on 22 March.