Working visit to Kazakhstan

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President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko paid a working visit to Astana on 19-20 March.

On 19 March he met with President of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on 19 March as part of his working visit to Kazakhstan. The head of state said that he counts on the expansion of trade between Belarus and Kazakhstan.

“Our relations are rather good. However, the pace of our trade cooperation has slowed down and I would like it to develop more actively. The well-known external factor and an almost two-time devaluation of the Russian ruble affected the situation inside Kazakhstan and Belarus,” the Belarusian leader noted.

"Your invitation was timely. We need to discuss the situation and, if necessary, take action. The situation is alarming. The negative trends pile up, and a lot depends on the Russian Federation here. The three of us need to find a way out of this situation so that our union could become more attractive, so that people would see that we have positive dynamics, at least within our union,” the President of Belarus said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that last year much attention was paid to the problems in the EEU. The Belarusian President suggested exchanging the views on the enlargement of the union, the accession of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

The Belarusian leader also drew attention to the ongoing presidential election campaign in Kazakhstan. “You know our attitude to you. You know that we are rooting for you and wish you a victory. I know that the Kazakhstan people treat you with the highest respect and warmth. This presidential campaign will pass. Whatever its results, we need to think about the future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev believes the fact that the Eurasian Economic Union started operating on 1 January 2015 owes a lot to efforts of the Belarusian President.

The Kazakhstan President also drew attention to the importance of the Normandy Four meeting in Minsk. “It is a good thing that such a meeting took place in Minsk. You did a lot for it,” said Nursultan Nazarbayev. “One way or another the war has been stopped. A major war, bloodshed”. “Nobody needs this internal confrontation and neither do we,” he added.

Speaking about Belarus-Kazakhstan bilateral relations, Nursultan Nazarbayev remarked that the bilateral trade turnover had not been reduced. A large number of joint ventures and dozens of Belarusian assembly enterprises in Kazakhstan operate. “We will continue this work,” said the Kazakhstan President.

The two heads of state discussed the state progress in Eurasian integration, the situation regarding sanctions, and Ukrainian affairs.

On 20 March Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the trilateral meeting of presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. The three heads of state discussed existing trade and economic challenges in the operation of the Eurasian Economic Union and a number of international issues.

“It is clear that in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory we should stay together. There are too many challenges; there have been attempts to rewrite our common history. Therefore, in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory we should demonstrate the political and economic unity,” the President of Belarus said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that every year brings new challenges. In his opinion, the time shows that the Eurasian Economic Union was created in time. “The union is not only the declaration of intents. We have passed a lot of documents, formalized the union by singing a number of agreements. We must respond to these challenges within the framework of our union,” the Belarusian leader said.

The Belarusian head of state urged to remember about other members of the union. It is essential to propose new development options to them.

After the trilateral meeting presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia met with the representatives of mass media.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia agreed to meet in Moscow on 8 May. Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the heads of state will discuss the issues that were raised at the today’s meeting in Astana. It is expected that the governments of the EEU member states will make concrete decisions regarding these issues before the meeting in May.

The leaders of the three countries discussed cooperation avenues and the measures that should be taken in trade, monetary policy and other areas in order to make ample use of the common resources for sustainable mutually beneficial development.

The Belarusian President noted with satisfaction that the vice premiers of the three countries held productive meetings on 19-20 March. These meetings were aimed at resolving complicated issues which exist in relations between the states. Besides, there were bilateral talks between the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan, Russia and Kazakhstan to discuss the entire complex of issues in bilateral relations.

Aleksandr Lukashenko added that at the trilateral meeting the heads of state paid attention to the existing issues, including economic ones. In 2014 and early 2015 the trade turnover reduced. “It is not a good trend, however, we see the reasons. We have discussed these issues and outlined the ways out from the situation. There are complicated issues which have to be resolved, but there is also a simple formula for raising the trade turnover inside the union – we need to sell our own goods,” the Belarusian leader said.

“The need to saturate the internal market with our own goods is number one priority. It is also important to lift emerging barriers to ramp up the trade turnover,” the Belarusian President noted.

The EEU plans to adopt more than a hundred important documents in 2015. Among the most important documents is the new Customs Code, the concept for the common markets of electricity, gas, oil and oil products as well as international agreements regulating cooperation in the currency, financial, social and economic areas.

The heads of state agreed to develop trade, economic and investment cooperation and instructed the governments to look into the ways of promoting the trade growth.

Participants of the meeting also discussed the accession of new members to the Eurasian Economic Union. “We have confirmed our wish to make new members of the union observe classical principles which were previously developed by the three countries. We had to work hard to create this union, therefore new members must observe the existing principles,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian President noted that the leaders of the three countries also paid attention to the issues on the political agenda, discussed the progress in the regulation of the Ukrainian crisis and a number of other issues. “At the meeting we have managed to reconcile our positions virtually on all areas of further interaction. We have determined concrete steps to create additional conditions for the development of trade and economic cooperation taking into account new global realities and the current state of affairs in the economies of our countries,” the Belarusian head of state said.

The Presidents also agreed to continue the practice of such informal meetings to discuss and take prompt decisions on any issues related to crisis developments.

President of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russian visited the Library of the First President of Kazakhstan. The heads of state talked to young visitors of the library. Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin got electronic library cards.