Meeting with State Secretary of Union State Grigory Rapota

    The session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Belarus and Russia will take place in Moscow in late December. Preparations for the session were discussed at the meeting of Belarus President, Chairman of the Supreme State Council of the Union State Aleksandr Lukashenko and State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota on 9 December.

    The meeting focused on the topics that will be discussed at the top level as well as accompanying matters. No specific date for holding the session has been chosen yet.

    “I do not want to hide from the general public the fact that we have some difference of opinion regarding the proposal of, I believe, the Russian side, who is in favor of holding all the events on the same day on 23 December — the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Supreme State Council and so on and so forth. If we are to hold these sessions, we should do it properly. We do not look very decent in the eyes of people both in Russia and Belarus with regard to the formation of the full-value Union State as it is. It would be wrong to hold our event in a formalistic manner,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The President remarked he would like to hear Grigory Rapota’s point of view on these matters. “Moreover, a lot of issues that need to be addressed have emerged in Belarusian-Russian relations. You know it. I thank you for taking part in handling these issues. While we enjoy the friendliest relations between the two states and the two nations, we are now forced to state that problems emerge over nothing,” said the head of state. “It seems to me that Russians have nothing to reproach us for. We do everything the way we have agreed to do.”

    Speaking about Belarusian export to Russia, the President stressed: “You have asked us to deliver these volumes of dairy and meat products, fish and so on. You have specified everything. We have not exhausted these quotas yet. We have not supplied these volumes yet. Why do Russians have to reproach us for feeding them too much? And then respectable people do not do things this way. While we pay little attention to the issue, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It is not some kind of unfair competition. The brotherly Russian nation just doesn’t let our products in, creating adverse publicity by claiming our products are not safe and some other things. You buy Belarusian products regularly. Can you tell me anything about the lack of safety in our products? We are way more ahead of Russians in these matters. It may be a good idea to look into the safety of Russia-made food.”

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that Belarus still abides by Soviet quality standards and has even stepped up their requirements. “Russia forgot the Soviet standards a long time ago. Russia relies on technical regulations and conditions that every manufacturer is free to bend to fit their own needs. And then different products are available on shop shelves — products from Europe, America, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. Let the Russian public choose what they want to buy. We are in favor of this competition but we are denied it,” said the President.

    “Therefore, a lot of problems have to be addressed. If we hold these sessions on the same day, it will be a mess and we will get no results,” said the head of state.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke in favor of an open dialogue with the Russian side on all the issues. “We have nothing to hide from each other. It is not the time to play some diplomatic games and use tricks,” he said.

    In turn, Grigory Rapota agreed with the Belarus president by saying that a lot of issues had accumulated and had to be properly discussed. “There are things worth discussing. It is necessary to find solutions fast and remove these tensions. There are also other matters that need a systemic approach and an open dialogue,” noted the State Secretary of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.