From Concepts to Specific Actions

Minsk has hosted meetings of the Interstate Council of the EurAsEC and regular session of the CSTO. The heads of state reached a number of essential agreements
Opening the meeting of the Interstate Council of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) its chairman, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko welcomed the distinguished guests and immediately outlined the position of this country on integration processes as a whole. “Belarus has always supported and will always back any type of integration processes in the former Soviet Union,” he noted. The reason is very simple, according to Alexander Lukashenko. He drew attention of those present at the meeting to unification tendencies observed worldwide. Many countries of the world unite into regional economic and political groups, and this being an objective process, the six countries of the EurAsEC should follow this logic and build up a powerful community with immense economic, energy, transport and human resources to be able to tip the scales of the world balance of powers.

President Lukashenko is certain the EurAsEC has excellent preconditions for becoming an efficient integration institution. Undoubtedly, some serious progress has been made. The phase of declaration of political will of the state is history. Many organizational issues have been decided, functions of the community have been determined, and regulatory framework of the EurAsEC is almost ready. Besides, the key goals of the Community have been outlined, and there is a list of priority issues to be tackled in the near future.

It is time to act. “It is high time we switched to specific projects from determining general concepts,” the chairman of the Interstate Council called on the member-states, adding that the key cooperation priorities were in energy and transport. Other essential tasks of the EurAsEC are to enhance the role of the community in the world economy and coordinate the member-states’ World Trade Organization (WTO) accession efforts.

The Interstate Council addressed other issues as well, especially the accession of Uzbekistan to the EurAsEC. Alexander Lukashenko appreciated the appearance of a new member in the Community. According to him, the accession of Uzbekistan makes the tasks and goals of the EurAsEC even more serious and ambitious. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin also welcomed Uzbekistan in the EurAsEC.

Since the previous summit, held five months ago, much has been done to implement the resolutions of the presidents.

Alexander Lukashenko noted that the EurAsEC had made the first moves to integrate into the world community: the Community has established relations with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Besides, the Concept of the EurAsEC international activity has been drafted. Also, the Community managed to approve a program to establish the common transport area of the EurAsEC in order to increase the efficiency of transit through the territory of the Community and facilitate transport operations. The governments of the EurAsEC member-states have considered the interstate programs “Microelectronics EurAsEC XXI Century” and “Biotechnologies”, which had been initiated by Belarus. A targeted program “Health of EurAsEC Peoples” is to be developed soon.

Talking about the short-term outlook President Lukashenko noted a necessity to unify energy strategies within the EurAsEC. The Belarusian state leader reminded that the Russian side had initiated the establishment of a joint institute to unite the nuclear energy potential of the EurAsEC.

“Joint efforts of specialists and heads of energy agencies will soon have specific results: a manifold legal framework will be worked out to regulate access to energy resources and transit, develop new and renewable sources of electric power,” Alexander Lukashenko believes. He suggested the premiers of the EurAsEC member-states should receive regular reports on the implementation of targeted programs and projects of the Community and present annual reports to the heads of state.

The top priority here is a set of measures to facilitate flow of commodities within the EurAsEC.

President Alexander Lukashenko, who had just taken over from Vladimir Putin, presided at the CSTO session in Minsk. The Belarusian president noted that although the CSTO has proved itself an efficient international organization, but new international challenges and threats, especially terrorism, international crime, drug trafficking, etc. require further development of the CSTO. The word “transformation” was probably the most popular notion at the two summits. Speaking about Belarus’ priority goals during its chairmanship in the organization Alexander Lukashenko noted it was essential to develop an effective system of foreign political coordination. “Only providing each other with support in international organizations we will be able to assert our collective and national interests,” the head of state said. Besides, the cooperation in the military sector is another priority for Belarus. Minsk also plans to redouble efforts to create an efficient system of response to natural calamities and man-caused accidents. This direction should be closely connected with the CSTO’s antiterrorist efforts. Belarus also suggested carrying out an exercise to deal with the consequences of an emergency resulting
from an act of terror.

Drawing the results of the two summits Alexander Lukashenko told a news conference that the sessions had been extremely productive. His colleagues shared this opinion. Nursultan Nazarbayev and Islam Karimov underlined those were the sincerest exchanges of opinion in a very long time. The results of the meetings were as impressive as rarely before: specific decisions were made almost on every point of the agenda. As for the Customs Union, all domestic procedures to prepare packages of documents necessary to establish the union are to be completed by the end of the year. As for the concept to coordinate foreign activities, the presidents approved the draft. As for the collective security, a special political declaration was adopted at the CSTO summit.

This is what President Alexander Lukashenko said when outlining Belarus’ targets during its chairmanship in the CSTO: “Our main concern together with the Russian Federation is the western border. We must cherish it like the apple of our eyes. All issues that we were discussing have been approved not only by the heads of state, but also by the professionals that will implement our decisions.”

The presidents made it clear that economic and political interaction was closely connected with security, which is the main precondition of the sustainable development of integration processes.
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