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Opinions & Interviews

11 May 2018

Kremlin views Belarus-Russia strategic partnership as successful

Kremlin views Belarus-Russia strategic partnership as successful

MOSCOW, 11 May (BelTA) – Belarus-Russia strategic partnership has been developing successfully, the Kremlin press service told BelTA in the run-up to the scheduled meeting between Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 14 May.

“The strategic partnership between the two countries has been developing successfully. Russia and Belarus work closely within the framework of the Union State, the Eurasian Economic Union, the CIS, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The countries maintained an intensive dialogue at the highest level in 2017. The heads of state met on eight occasions and talked on the phone three times last year. In 2018 the presidents held two telephone conversations (19 and 28 March),” the Kremlin noted.

According to the Kremlin press service, at the meeting in Sochi the presidents are set to address the key issues on the bilateral agenda and focus on the prospects for the development of trade and economic relations.

The governments maintain active cooperation as well: in 2017 the prime ministers of Belarus and Russia Andrei Kobyakov and Dmitry Medvedev held ten meetings. This year's the prime minister held a meeting on the sidelines of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council session in Almaty on 2 February. Ministries and departments keep in close contact too.

“In 2017 the bilateral trade rose by 23.5% to $32.42 billion. In January-February 2018, it surged by 20.6% ($5.32 billion),” the Kremlin press service noted.

The countries have been developing cooperation in the energy sector. “Oil and gas are supplied to Belarus in the normal mode (19.01 billion cubic meters of gas and 18 million tonnes of oil in 2017; 6 billion cubic meters of gas and 4.5 million tonnes of oil in Q1 2018). The largest investment project is the construction of Belarus’ first nuclear power plant with the capacity of 2400MW ($10 billion in investment). The project is being implemented by Rosatom in the town of Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast. The launch of the first unit is scheduled for 2019. By 2020 Gazprom plans to invest $2-2.5 billion in the development of the gas transport system of Belarus and $1.1 billion in the underground gas storage facilities,” the press service informed.

Of great importance is the cooperation in the agricultural sector. Belarusian food and agricultural raw materials account for more than a third (31.7% in 2017) of the total export to Russia,” the Kremlin stressed.

Interregional cooperation plays an important role. More than 80 regions of Russia maintain trade and economic relations with Belarus. About 320 agreements have been concluded at the level of regions and municipalities. Since 2014 Belarus and Russian have held forums of regions. Contacts in the cultural and humanitarian field are traditionally diverse and extensive.

“Foreign political interaction has been systemic and multifaceted. Belarus and Russia have common or similar positions on major international issues, work closely in the UN, other multilateral organizations,” the Kremlin added.

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