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28 May 2019

Lukashenko’s working visit to Kazakhstan begins

Lukashenko’s working visit to Kazakhstan begins

NUR-SULTAN, 28 May (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has arrived in Kazakhstan on a working visit where he will participate in the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on 29 May. The aircraft with the Belarusian head of state landed at the airport of Nur-Sultan, BelTA informs.

Apart from the summit, the program of the visit includes a number of bilateral meetings and talks with foreign leaders, including top-ranking officials of Kazakhstan. The president spoke about it during the meeting with Ambassador of Kazakhstan Yermukhamet Yertysbayev on 23 May. “I think that apart from the EAEU summit we will be able to hold meetings with the Kazakhstan president and the first president of your country to discuss the prospects of our cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

BelTA reported earlier that the EAEU summit will take place in the narrow and extended formats. In view of the fifth anniversary of the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty, the heads of state will review progress in the development of the union, discuss a possibility to deepen the Eurasian integration, and analyze the efficiency of existing agreements. Besides, the summit will focus on the expansion of international cooperation in the EAEU, formation of the common electricity market in the EAEU, cooperation between customs agencies, major macroeconomic policy guidelines for 2019-2020, implementation of the digital agenda, establishment of the EAEU Industrial Policy Council, and other issues. The parties are expected to sign corresponding international documents after the summit. The Belarusian head of state will also hold a number of meetings and talks with foreign leaders in Nur-Sultan.

On Belarus’ position on EAEU development

A month ago, in the State of the Nation Address, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the EAEU should become a full-fledged economic union with equal conditions for its members. He said that Belarus does not need integration for the sake of integration. “We expect to achieve certain goals that will bring about tangible results for the economies and peoples of our countries. The EAEU should become a full-fledged economic union with equal conditions for its participants. This task will be a priority goal for Belarus during its presidency in the organization in 2020,” he said. “Today, Belarus is ready to play a bigger role as a trade channel for the multi-million market of the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS countries with the European Union.”

Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei also commented on the operation of the EAEU in the past five years after the talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on 27 May. Vladimir Makei noted that over the past five years the EAEU member states managed to create a system of multilateral economic cooperation that gave a boost to mutual trade between the member states. Apart from that, other countries are also showing interest in the EAEU – about 30 states have already showed their willingness to sign a free trade zone agreement with the EAEU member states.

“No doubt, the organization has achieved some positive results. At the same time, we should admit that a number of restrictions and exemptions still remain in place. We are working on this, of course, but I would not want these exemptions and restrictions to gain momentum. We want a balance between Eurasian and European economic integration processes, but unfortunately, the remaining issues in our union make some external players skeptical about it. They start viewing the EAEU as someone’s geopolitical project. We are working with these players. However, we strongly believe that we need to remove all barriers in mutual trade, promote cooperation in the manufacturing industry, ensure free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce, and this is a quite ambitious task,” Vladimir Makei said.

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