Session of Union State Supreme State Council

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Belarus and Russia will overcome any difficulties together, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said after the session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State in Moscow on 3 March.

Before the session of the Supreme State Council the sides held a bilateral meeting to discuss the development prospects of the Belarusian-Russian cooperation.

The Belarusian President noted that the prospects of interaction were addressed several times not only in the bilateral format but also on the platform of the Eurasian Economic Union. Corresponding issues were raised at the recent meeting in Sochi where the parties also discussed the situation in Ukraine. “Back then you and Poroshenko decided on arranging the Normandy Four meeting in Minsk. Many remarks full of bile were said and many jokes. But today everyone is convinced that the meeting was necessary, the decisions that were made are being implemented,” the Belarusian leader said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, mass media reports say that Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree on setting up a constitution commission. “So, the work on the Constitution begins, just what you were talking about in Sochi. All the issues can be resolved as part of the process. It is a huge breakthrough,” the Belarusian head of state believes.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin bewtowed an Order of Alexander Nevsky upon Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The order is bestowed upon prominent Russian and foreign political and public figures, representatives of the business community of foreign countries for their contribution to cooperation with the Russian Federation and assistance with the country’s social and economic development.

At the beginning of the session of the Supreme State Council Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed confidence that the countries implicitly understand the need to further develop the Union State project and, most of all, they see the project’s prospects.

“We have advanced so far that losing the pace of advancement or creating some artificial squabbles would be inadmissible from the point of view of our nations,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

In this context the session of the Supreme State Council is supposed to become another step because the adoption of priority directions and priority tasks concerning the development of the Union State in the medium term is one of the central items on the agenda. “Our governments have been working on this document for a long time in order to determine the points that our union project will be able to stand on in order to secure new dynamics and precise guidelines for further advancement,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state drew attention to the item on the agenda concerning results of the bilateral trade and economic cooperation in 2013-2014. “Unfortunately, Belarus-Russia trade turnover has been slightly decreasing for two years already,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. “No doubt that the unfavorable foreign economic situation plays its part. But to a large extent we are to blame as well: we create tensions in trade relations, misbalance in the economic policy between our countries. These factors lead to artificial barriers that impede the free movement of goods. All these barriers have to be removed and we are going to accomplish that. It is also necessary to form a common industrial policy and a common market. It will serve our common interests and is very important for other integration projects,” he added.

The Belarusian President underlined the importance of the budget matters handled by the Supreme State Council and, in particular, the need to take into account recommendations outlined by the auditing agencies of the two countries after reviewing the report on executing the 2013 Union State budget for the sake of properly executing the year 2015 budget. “The budget that we have to adopt today is close to RUB5 billion. As much as 85% of the budget will be spent on financing 36 joint programs and projects. On the whole, the Union budget policy should be more flexible and effective. It should allow concentrating resources on priority areas,” the Belarusian head of state said.

Another item on the agenda is evaluating the fulfillment of the program of concerted foreign policy actions in 2014-2015. “In the face of rising external challenges and the regional instability we should adequately respond primarily for the sake of securing the stable development of our countries. In this context the importance of coordinating actions of the Russian and Belarusian foreign ministries will be multiplied many times over,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.

Apart from that, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed the need to add another item to the agenda with regard to the action plan designed by the Belarusian and Russian governments to step up trade and economic cooperation. “It is a response to the reality of today’s economic development of the two countries. The matter has been considered and approved by our governments, which is a good sign,” the President of Belarus added.

The Supreme State Council adopted the Union State budget for 2015. "It is important that in the current difficult situation, we have increased the budget. A large part of these funds will be used for the Union State programs in power engineering, construction, transport and agriculture. We have four dozens of such projects,” the Belarusian head of state noted.

The Supreme State Council also approved the Union State development priorities in the mid-term perspective until 2017: pursuing a coherent foreign policy, development of the common scientific and technological space, development of the agriculture industry, the creation of the common migration space and labor market, social protection of citizens.

The meeting participants also reviewed the status of implementation of the program of the concerted action in foreign policy.

After the session the sides signed a number of international documents.

In particular, Belarus and Russia agreed to continue working on the establishment of the single visa space. To this end, they are planning to prepare an agreement on mutual recognition of the visas issued to nationals of foreign states.

After the session Belarus and Russia have signed a number of agreements on cooperation in the social sector and migration policy. Apart from the resolutions of the Supreme State Council regarding the issues on the agenda, the sides signed four bilateral documents. These include an agreement on the mutual implementation of court rulings regarding the collection of child support payments, an agreement on the mutual recognition and implementation of resolutions on the denial of entry to the Union State countries, an agreement on the exchange of information about the citizens of Belarus and Russia who are not allowed to leave the country, a protocol on amending the agreement on the free travelling, choosing the places of stay and residence on the territory of the Union State member states for the citizens of Belarus and Russia of 24 January 2006.

At the end of the session Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the meeting showed that our bilateral relations have special importance in today's environment, and this will remain so in the future.

“With the launch of the Eurasian Economic Union on 1 January 2015 the Union State has not lost its relevance, and today's session showed this. The Union State remains the most advanced integration project, a ground for many new ideas and solutions which we jointly work out and implement. We carefully refine our previous decisions, and the processes developing in the Union State remain within the line of sight of the governments and leadership of the two countries,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

“Thanks to the Belarus-Russia Union State we are not in the background of global and regional integration processes. It has become an example for the formation of the Customs Union, the Single Economic Space, and later the Eurasian Economic Union, what gives us an opportunity to discuss the prospects of “the integration of integrations”, and, probably, the expansion of the functions and authorities of the EEU,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Speaking about the signing of the Union State Treaty 15 years ago, the Belarusian President emphasized that it was a momentous move which not only enhanced strategic partnership of the fraternal states. “It also had a huge impact on the development of processes in the entire post-Soviet space. We have created conditions for ensuring equal rights of citizens, joint defense policy, harmonized foreign policy interaction, and large-scale economic, scientific and technical processes,” the head of state remarked.

“There are different opinions about our relations. This is a small part of the society in Belarus and Russia. But those who think that we have insurmountable problems must calm down. We will disappoint them. In this difficult situation we know what to do, we have agreed to cope with the situation together, that is what fraternal nations do,” the Belarusian President said.

“I know that you, the government have difficult time right now. But we feel your support,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin. He emphasized that this pertains to not only the support, but also to the joint implementation of large-scale projects in the crucial branches of the economy such as nuclear energy and space exploration. “A nuclear power plant is the project worth $10 billion. I should tell you that we are already two months ahead of the schedule. Belarusians and Russians are building it together, hand in hand. And we have a very big space project, sophisticated technologies,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

“I am convinced that we will overcome any difficulties together. Nothing extraordinary has happened. We are working in the new conditions. We need to adapt to them and to work further. And we have demonstrated our readiness today. You can be sure that the Belarusians will do their best to implement the agreements,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

Belarus and Russia agreed to hold a series of joint events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

“We, and especially our scientists, are doing their best to prevent attempts to rewrite history and distort the historical truth about World War II. These issues are very important today. Who would have thought that in the territory of the former USSR, whose peoples fought together against the common enemy, certain people would not know or understand the history of the Great Patriotic War? Therefore, in our common home we have to protect the results of the Great Patriotic War and to prevent the attempts to rewrite them,” the President stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the reverent attitude and clear position on the common Victory, the 70th anniversary of which will be celebrated this year.

The President of Russia praised a big contribution of Aleksandr Lukashenko to the regulation of the Ukrainian crisis. “Today we also talked about international problems, including the situation in Ukraine. I would like to mention vigorous efforts of Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko in assisting with the resolution of the problem. We are grateful for the organization of the rather complicated but absolutely necessary ‘Normandy Four’ talks in Minsk,” Vladimir Putin said.