Session to discuss Belarus’ socio-economic development, approaches to further development of integration projects

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is holding a government session to discuss the social and economic development of Belarus in 2019 and the approaches to the further development of integration projects on 10 January.

Needless to say that the New Year holidays are over and we should get down to work. The year will not be easy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Needless to say because we did not have a rest for a week or two like our neighbors. We returned to work long ago and are in a proper mood right now.”

The head of state invited the participants of the session to discuss Belarus’ economic, social and political development in 2019. “They say a lot about it, they say a lot that this is the pre-election year, and it is true. We should step up efforts to address certain issues in a better way than they are addressed now. We are capable of resolving these issues,” the President said.

In his words, it is essential to discuss issues involving the development of the Belarusian-Russian relations, interaction of countries in the format of the EAEU and the CSTO. The head of state is going to pay special attention to the results of the talks with the President of Russia which took place in December 2018.

“We need to discuss all this without omissions. And the main thing is that you should not have any doubts about the resolution of sensitive issues for our country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

“Today there is too much talk about the unification of the two countries. I am analyzing the situation in our society and in Russia. Many questions are being asked about the autocephaly of our church in Belarus due to the church situation in Ukraine. I believe these questions are exceedingly stupid and far-fetched for the sake of discussion in our society,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The President made it clear that the unification of the two countries is out of the question. “I and the President of Russia have decided in no uncertain terms that there is no such item – unification – on the agenda today,” the head of state pointed out.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that back in the day Belarus and Russia signed the Union State Foundation Treaty and had been advancing their relations in strict compliance with this document. “We were supposed to pass a Constitutional Act in due course, that is the Constitution of the UnionState. The document would have regulated everything: administrative powers, executive powers, a single currency, policy, and so on. Russia refused to follow this path once. I reminded the President of Russia about it and he agreed it had happened like that. The question is what are we going to do with the Union State Treaty now? We should start negotiations and see what we can do together today in line with the treaty, what we can embark upon together without any pressure,” noted the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the union of Belarus and Russia can grow only on the basis of equality. “Not because Lukashenko wants it this way as the situation is presented in Russia. But because we are talking about the fundamental principles of building any union. There is no union without equality as foundation,” said the Belarusian leader. “Everything must happen on equality terms. The people of the Russian Federation and Belarus have to want it. We should keep in mind the opinion of our people all the time as we form this union. This is why the unification of the two countries is off the table due to multiple reasons as you understand.”

Russia would not go for it, Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced. President of Russia Vladimir Putin confirmed it in a conversation with the Belarusian head of state. “Russia is unable to go ahead with it considering all the consequences. This is why people should calm down and stop talking about someone bending anyone to someone’s will. No will will be bent,” noted the Belarusian leader.