Working visit to Russian Federation

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Belarus and Russia have regulated all the disputable issues in bilateral relations. These are the results of the meeting between Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on 3 April.

The talks between the two heads of state lasted for more than five hours. The presidents first held one-on-one negotiations and then took part in the expanded-participation talks with members of the delegations.

The meeting started with the discussion of the recent tragedy in Saint Petersburg, which metro was hit by explosions on 3 April. Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed condolences to Vladimir Putin. “It is a great pity this has happened today. Unfortunately, we have faced such problems in Minsk as well,” said the Belarusian head of state.

The President stressed that security was the main issue on the agenda of the talks. The parties planned to discuss security matters long time ago and they were raised during yesterday’s negotiations not only because of the recent incident.

Belarus and Russia agreed on joint steps to enhance security. “You see what is taking place around us. All we want is to preserve stability in Russia and Belarus. Very few peaceful spots have left in this world. We have agreed on joint steps to preserve stability in our states,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Presidents of Russia and Belarus also settled all the issues in the oil and gas sector. The parties agreed on a necessary scheme and the way to meet each other halfway. It is expected that all further decisions will be taken in the near future.

The two heads of state reaffirmed their readiness to create all essential fundamental rules and conditions for the common electricity market by July 2019. The parties confirmed their readiness to do everything necessary to develop joint rules on the common gas market by 1 January 2018 and prepare to sign an intergovernmental agreement on the common gas market in the Eurasian Economic Union by 2024.

Another important issue of the bilateral talks was cooperation in the agrarian and industrial sectors. The parties agreed to discuss the matters in detail at the next meeting of the Supreme State Council. “We spent much time discussing the agrarian issues and agreed to include them into the agenda of the Supreme State Council meeting. We have agreed on the same things regarding the industrial policy. In the near future we will coordinate the matters and take decisions at the meeting of the Supreme State Council,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The presidents attached close attention to discussing cooperation in the agricultural sector. Russian specialists are soon expected to visit the Belarusian companies in respect to which they had concerns about the compliance with the phytosanitary norms and will discuss all the moot points with their counterparts in the area.

The leaders of the two countries paid attention to bilateral relations in the financial sector, concrete branches of economy, including high technology sectors. The parties also discussed the ways to expand cooperation in space.

Apart from that, Russia decided to meet Belarus halfway in refinancing the country’s debt obligations before the Russian Federation in 2017. “The President promised to give the corresponding orders in a day or two,” the Belarusian head of state said.

The talks also highlighted the issues of the international agenda. “We have discussed the issues concerning us, our neighbors, and the EU policy. We have exchanged opinions on the relations with the United States and the ways to develop these relations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

“I have asked Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] not to forget about Belarus when building up relations with big states. He is expected to hold G20 meetings. I was assured that we will be supported at all the forums the same way we were before,” said the President of Belarus.

The head of state thanked the Russian leader that, despite the recent events, the parties found time to hold talks. "Despite this problem, you did hold these negotiations. Of course, it is not good that the presidents had to deal with the matters of the kind. But this is life and nothing can be done about it,” he added.

Vladimir Putin, in turn, said that there are no disputable issues in the Belarusian-Russian relations any longer. “We will move further, strengthen our relations within the UnionState and work on improving the legal framework and the development of the Eurasian Economic Union,” the President of Russia stressed.