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Opinions & Interviews

7 Apr 2017

Lukashenko: The countries' problems should push Belarus and Russia to unity within Union State

Lukashenko: The countries' problems should push Belarus and Russia to unity within Union State

MINSK, 7 April (BelTA) – The presence of problems on each side should push both Belarus and Russia to unity within the Union State, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview with the interstate television and radio company Mir, BelTA has learned.

“Let us not be isolated within the national framework. Yes, the situation got worse. Sanctions have been imposed on Russia. In some areas Belarus still suffers from sanctions as well. It is clear that we have problems. This means we need to act together. This is the moment which should push us to unity. We, on the contrary, create additional problems that separate us,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

The president added that if the countries had not abandoned the Union State plan back then, the current state of affairs would not be questioned by journalists, both Belarusians and Russians. “I mean the Union State Treaty. We got away from this plan then. We should have held a referendum and create common laws, the common constitution of our Union State. We did not do. Instead, we started addressing some individual issues. Thanks God, at least we did this,” the head of state noted.

It is still early to speak about the full-fledged Union State with its common constitution, single currency and all other associated things. “We are not ready for it, and I am talking more about Russians, the Russian authorities, not Belarusians. We need to address other issues then. We have done a lot in what concerns our people. Now, we should take a look at the economy,” the President said.

The matter, first of all, pertains to equal conditions for companies. “What equal conditions can we talk about when we, our companies, pay five times more for natural gas than Russian companies do? What about the common market? How can we be competitive there? That is why we have to cut the prime cost of the product to keep the price, pay workers less. Profits get lower and it is difficult to modernize production. If we agreed on the union, let us show then, at least within the union of Belarus and Russia, that we can create equal conditions not only for people, including free movement, employment, social matters, healthcare, education and so on, but also for companies,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“The main principle of the Union State is equal relations. There can be no union if there are no equal relations. It does not mean that we should take everything Russia and Belarus have and divide it equally. I once said: if we divide it equally, the half Belarus gets will be too big for the country. We do not need so much. There are some 140-145 million people in Russia, and we have less than 10 million. Why should we need equal halves? Never. We just need to work fairly and provide companies here and there with equal conditions to work,” the head of state said.

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