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11 Oct 2017

Belarus president calls for concrete actions to confirm CIS relevancy

Belarus president calls for concrete actions to confirm CIS relevancy

SOCHI, 11 October (BelTA) – Statements saying that the Commonwealth of Independent States is needed should be backed by concrete actions, primarily in the economic sphere. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement during the restricted-attendance session of the CIS Heads of State Council in Sochi on 11 October, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko reminded that it has been one year since the session of the CIS Heads of State in Bishkek decided in favor of adapting the CIS to modern reality. The document adopted by the Bishkek session contains clear instructions on developing and bolstering the Commonwealth of Independent States. Back then the leaders of all the countries agreed the organization should be preserved. “But we have failed to make any headway. The statement that the Commonwealth of Independent States is needed should be backed by concrete actions,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

The Belarusian head of state pointed out that virtually every regional association aims to open markets and enable equal business operation terms. “We have a good foundation to make it happen — the free trade zone agreement. In line with the document enabling equal terms of access to government procurement contracts is one of the next steps. Last year five countries signed the protocol on rules and procedures of regulating government procurement contracts. Work is in progress to implement the document. The heads of state of Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Ukraine have not signed this document. It means that once again we will face exemptions,” stated Alexander Lukashenko. “On the one hand, we talk about open trade. On the other hand, we prevent each other from accessing government procurement contracts, which make up a large part of the market.”

Enabling free trade in services is another matter entirely. “Everyone knows perfectly well that work on the relevant agreement is in progress. Experts get together, take the old text, shuffle the paragraphs, and forward the document for consideration. The situation is repeated two or three months later. Things have been going on like that for years. The project has no coordinator while the CIS Executive Committee is not up to the task, frankly speaking,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

The head of state urged participants of the session to pay close attention to these problems because trade and economy represent the foundation of any relations. “Real advances in the two spheres I’ve mentioned will reinvigorate the CIS. Otherwise, the CIS will remain nothing but good intentions. We should give the relevant instructions to our governments so that these matters would be reviewed,” said the Belarus president.

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