Meeting with State Secretary of Union State Grigory Rapota
Aleksandr Lukashenko gave another example: access to government procurement programs. “We need equal conditions for everybody, enterprises both in Russia and Belarus,” he said.
“Or industrial cooperation which we talk a lot about. Or the tax maneuver which was tossed instead of customs duties, though we agreed that there would be no customs duties in the EAEU or in the Union State. The time to negotiate terms of the supply of natural gas and oil in future has run out. This is a great amount of issues which are not addressed. We agreed that while addressing the strategic issues we will be tackling tactical issues, which are on the surface and require immediate action,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“Without solving these issues there is nothing to talk about, on our part. Problems are many,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
“You just have to oversee it. And you should take part in these negotiations as the head of the Union State administrative office,” Aleksandr Lukashenko told Grigory Rapota. “I mean we’ve had so many negotiations and yet today I get reports… Promises only. The negotiation team has stumbled upon some issue – the Russian government, including Prime Minister Medvedev, promises to give all the instructions, orders in order to address issues as a package. Because they stick to a negotiation tactics of making promises and forgetting them. So these processes are being slowed down for some reason.”
“Why do I have to drag these matters into the limelight? Because I will have to meet with President Putin in St Petersburg soon. And we will have to discuss results of these negotiations. But there is nothing to discuss as of today. This is why I would like you to oversee this matter and make it clear to the Russian side that we have to come up with some results virtually within several days. So that we could work out an agenda and discuss it with President Putin in St Petersburg on 17-18 July. I don’t think we can just meet and sit with each other saying nothing. Time for that is already gone,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that many mass media, particularly opposition ones, are hotly debating the topic regarding the planned trip of the two leaders to Valaam Island and assume some secret agreements would be reached during the trip to Valaam. “We are not going to make some secret decisions on Valaam. It was a proposal of the Russian President. It is a sacred place of the Russian Orthodox Church. I just have to visit the place. I am grateful that he will personally show me around and tell me how the place is being restored and what has been done. Nothing secret,” the Belarusian leader stated.
“Since there is no progress and we say nothing, then conspiracy theories come to the forefront. You know how it happens. This is why there are many issues that need to be addressed. Including the schedules for the meetings of our supreme bodies – the union government, the Supreme State Council. I think we have to come to terms here and then formalize these documents at a session of the Supreme State Council. But the Union State Council of Ministers should take a look at them first. There is no time at all. We’ve painted ourselves into a corner and do nothing to get out of it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.
Grigory Rapota agreed with the President’s statement, but remarked that there are no representatives of the Permanent Committee in the taskforce. “There is one detail. The Permanent Committee [of the Union State] is not included in the taskforce [concerning the integration of Belarus and Russia]. Therefore, it is very difficult for us to comment on their agreements. I am in the know in general, but it is difficult for me to specify on any agreements or lack of agreements,” he said.
At the meeting the Belarusian President, who is also the chairman of the Supreme State Council, instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the issue of the Permanent Committee’s participation in the operation of the Belarusian-Russian taskforce