CIS confirms its high status

During CIS Heads of State Council meeting, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko proposes additional mechanisms to bolster economic co-operation
By Vladimir Khromov

Alexander Lukashenko has remarked that, as part of its chairmanship, Belarus is focused on goals in line with ‘integration for public benefit’. With this in mind, Belarus has successfully implemented several initiatives within the spheres of security, ecology, green technologies, expansion of interregional and trans-boundary co-operation, and cultural dialogue. Economic partnerships have also been widely supported.

Mr. Lukashenko pointed out that negotiations began this year to draft an interstate treaty on a new free trade zone for services, aiming to support innovation-driven co-operation; it is now being filled with content.

The Belarusian President stressed at the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council that the doors of new associations are open to everyone. “It is time for us to think together about additional mechanisms to bolster economic co-operation within the CIS,” he asserted. “Taking into account the activation of integration processes across post-Soviet space, I believe that our Commonwealth, as the oldest integration association, should not lag behind.”

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko is also calling on CIS partners to strengthen co-ordination in the international arena. “Sometimes, our countries don’t speak from a single position. Unfortunately, this is seen even at the UN. Sometimes, our partners support decisions aimed against the Commonwealth or individual members. This practice can hardly be considered efficient,” stressed the Belarusian leader. “Belarus cannot imagine its sovereignty and independence without the closest collaboration with members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Moreover, we won’t be successful unless we interact with those nations with whom we’ve been living as a single family for the past century,” he emphasised, stressing that this is Belarus’ principle position, to which it is firmly committed. “Sovereignty, independence and national prosperity can be maintained only in unity with CIS states.”

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych believes that, after signing an agreement with the European Union, Ukraine will find a compromise in its interaction with the Customs Union. He told those present at the session, “We should take a close look at the last two years of trade relations between CIS states, especially the Customs Union, as I think we’ll find compromises and reveal new opportunities for the promotion of goods to joint markets.”

President Putin noted that the CIS can shape its own development agenda, regardless of the wider global market, but is keen to see more attention paid to the economic sphere. CIS growth in 2012 totalled 3.4 percent and is set to reach only 1.8 percent by the end of 2013. “The same can be said of investments, which have significantly reduced,” noted the Russian President. He also noted the importance of joint preparations to mark the 70th anniversary of Great Patriotic War victory, saying, “Our common duty to the generation of victors is to worthily celebrate this jubilee.”

Heads of state and representatives of other states agree unanimously on the importance of preserving memories of the Great Patriotic War, so that future generations know about and cannot forget the Great Victory. In particular, the session included discussions on declaring 2015 to be the CIS Year of Veterans of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945; inter-state commemorative awards, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet people, would then be issued.

Mr. Lukashenko remarked that Belarus has seriously prepared for this event, in order to demonstrate that independence and national wellbeing depends primarily on co-operation with CIS states. The President believes that Belarus will always feel this way and underlines that CIS states should work hard to secure tighter collaboration in all spheres. “We must not lose each other in this turbulent world,” he warned.

The Belarusian Head of State noted that the motto of the Belarusian chairmanship was ‘integration for public benefit’ and informed his colleagues of the status of the Belarusian chairmanship of the Commonwealth. “Much has been done, and Belarus has fulfilled all of your instructions and implemented a plan of definite action,” he added.

Mr. Lukashenko explained that, during its CIS chairmanship, Belarus has tried to inspire dynamic interaction between CIS countries on all fronts.
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