Video address to participants of plenary session of 9th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia

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Video address to participants of plenary session of 9th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia

Dear friends,

Let me welcome you at the 9th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia.

The hospitable city of Grodno is hosting such a significant event for the first time. The delegations are meeting at the junction of two cultural civilizations - East and West.

We see this as symbolic, because we are committed to a peaceful dialogue with all countries in spite of everything. And while our Western neighbors are bringing NATO troops to our border, we are putting forward absolutely constructive initiatives.

For Belarus and Russia, the forum has long become one of the symbols of kinship of the Slavic peoples. Life shows that we have found a format of interregional and interstate interaction that really meets the fundamental interests of Belarusians and Russians.

Moreover, the forum is an effective and adequate response to the new challenges we are facing today.

It is noteworthy that interregional cooperation has always helped out in the most difficult times.

That was the case in the 1990s when it was at the regional level that we managed to preserve not only economic ties but also the mental and spiritual unity of the two fraternal peoples.

The forum is a popular initiative, not the result of decisions from above. This is a dialogue platform where mechanisms are developed to implement the agreements adopted at the high and highest levels.

In the current geopolitical realities, the forum fulfills an important mission, which is to reinforce the solid economic foundation of the Union State.

We are especially pleased with the real results, which are important for the development of the regions, and for the functioning of enterprises, and for the improvement of the lives of our people in general.

Citizens of both Belarus and Russia enjoy equal rights to work, recreation, healthcare and education. Unfortunately, there are no similar examples of care for people living in different states in the post-Soviet space.

We have already developed what we have been talking about for so long at various levels. The Supreme State Council of the Union State has decided to deepen bilateral economic integration.

It is aimed at creating a qualitatively new environment for the turnover of goods and services between our countries, the creation of joint industry markets.

This implies further alignment of macroeconomic policies of the two countries, harmonization of currency regulations, equal access to government contracts and procurement, introduction of common rules of competition and equal rights for consumers.

We have already begun to implement programs to work out a single industrial and common agricultural policy of the Union State.

Insane and illegal sanctions of the West have pushed us to accelerate solutions in transport and logistics, introduce our own payment systems and settlements in national currencies.

It is worth saying that this year contacts with the heads of Russian regions have become much more active. The geography of such contacts is expanding. Some governors have visited Belarus more than once.

Our country has found something to interest each delegation. We have gotten new export opportunities and acquired unique competencies, during, for example, the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome or the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

Today, new long-term cooperation prospects are opening up for the two countries. Belarus could take part in the modernization of key sectors of the economy of Russian regions. A striking example is microelectronics.

We are ready to advance from mere trade to the establishment of joint ventures (especially in mechanical engineering and machine tool making), to participate in import substitution programs.

We also have many interesting proposals in the field of agriculture, supplies of equipment and component parts, space exploration, and pharmaceuticals.

We are not talking about some kind of overlapping productions. We are not going to compete with each other. I have already said this and I will repeat it again: everyone will benefit from cooperation in the manufacturing industry.

Huge market niches worth billions of rubles were abandoned by Western companies and are now vacant. We will take over these jobs, which will be guaranteed income for millions of Belarusians and Russians.

A number of key developments of the Union State is unmatched. For example, institutions of the Union State budget and Union State property have been formed and are developing. Union State funds are used to finance programs in a variety of areas.

The programs promote cooperation between enterprises and enhance the competitiveness of jointly produced products.

I believe that in the near future it is necessary to take stock of how the decisions of the forum are implemented. Not for control purposes but for optimizing all agreements.

Dear friends,

Today the Union State plays the role of a driving force of all integration processes. It is an example, a model of cultural and economic interstate cooperation.

Today the post-Soviet countries should be genuinely interested in rapprochement with the Union State, if they want to save their sovereignty and independence. We have seen that only together can we stand up to global challenges.

Those who are still in doubt should understand: without rapid unity and cohesion, without strengthening of interstate relations and just normal human relations, we may not exist tomorrow.

Dear participants of the forum,

We must do our best to turn this platform into the center of gravity for interregional initiatives.

A lot of work lies ahead. I wish all the participants of the forum successful and productive work for the benefit of the peoples of Belarus and Russia.