Participation in session of Supreme Eurasian Economic Union and CSTO informal summit
On 14 April, Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council as part of the working visit to Kyrgyzstan.
At the session Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested a set of measures for a more rapid development of the Eurasian Economic Union. “I believe 2017 should be a crucial year in the development of our organization,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
First of all, according to the President, it is necessary to set a moratorium on the adoption of new laws that might discriminate the member states. “The Eurasian Economic Commission shall monitor the observance of the rule,” he noted.
The Eurasian Intergovernmental Council and the Eurasian Economic Commission need to devote more attention to removing exemptions, barriers and restrictions on the EAEU domestic market. The head of state suggested hearing out the corresponding report on the matter at the next meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
“Working to perfect the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty it is not acceptable that we have results limited to technical updates by the end of the year. This matter should be considered in detail at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
The President also pointed to the Belarusian initiative which still has not been introduced. Belarus proposed developing a proper mechanism of operation for the EAEU in case one of its member states undertakes unilateral measures against third countries in order to protect its market. “This entails increasing disagreements within the union,” the Belarusian leader said.
“Although we place major emphasis on improving the relations within the union, we also remember about expanding the boundaries. In this regard, I can say frankly that signing preferential agreements on free trade is in the interests of Belarus. I am confident that it also meets the interests of the other states. With this in mind, I call for stepping up the effort to diversify trade and investment relations with our partners, strengthening the industrial and agricultural cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian leader also pointed out that the Eurasian Economic Union is gradually expanding its geography. “The work to create a single economic space and the objectives laid down in the EAEU Treaty find support from other countries of the region,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. Moldova’s move to get observer status with the EAEU and the eagerness of many countries to establish a free economic zone with the union attest to this.
“However, it is one thing to consolidate reasonable ideas in a document, and quite another to implement them. In this respect, the union has a number of unresolved problems. In 2016, we did not manage to stop the decline in mutual trade and eliminate its causes,” the Belarusian head of state stressed. In this context, he supported Kyrgyzstan’s call for focusing on the effort to settle internal issues of the EAEU.
During the informal meeting of the heads of state of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Aleksandr Lukashenko presiding in the Collective Security Council informed about Belarus’ priorities in the organization during its presidency. The sides discussed security issues, challenges and threats in the CSTO region, joint counteraction measures.
The presidents also considered candidates for the CSTO secretary general. Yuri Khatchaturov will be officially appointed on 2 May 2017. It was also decided to present former CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha with the CSTO Badge of Honor First Class for his contribution to the development of the organization, strengthening of cooperation between its member states, and consolidating of collective security, peace and stability.
On the sidelines of the summit Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Moldova President Igor Dodon. The Belarusian head of state said that Belarus and Moldova will be able to make progress in mutual relations despite difficulties.
“Perhaps, we needed to meet long time ago and talk over the steps to strengthen relations between Belarus and Moldova. I will be frank; we are doing our best to keep the ties with your wonderful country. You are a person of a new formation but with absolutely the same views and policy Belarus adheres to. I believe that despite the problems, we will be able to advance our relations. We follow a principle: if we can do something for our friends, close people, we are doing it. If there is readiness to meet each other halfway (and the economy is most likely to push us to it), we will be able to do a lot for both Moldova and Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President noted that he has been to Moldova many times and knows the country very well. “You have had different governments, different presidents, and we did our best to maintain relations. Despite all the difficulties (we had transit, logistics, other issues), we were moving forward. I cannot say we have been active enough in the economic and trade sector in the recent years. We, however, have managed to keep the positive momentum during these difficult years,” the Belarusian leader said.
“People in Moldova know about Belarus and appreciate many good things and reforms in your country. They often cite an example that Belarus managed to preserve many good things from Soviet times, the agricultural industry and infrastructure projects. This is a good example for us. I am saying this openly and honestly,” Igor Dodon emphasized.
The President of Moldova stressed that he often holds up Belarus as an example for his western colleagues who sometimes criticize it. “Let’s see what is going on in the economy of Belarus. Many European countries cannot boast it,” he said.