Three States Set Integration Example

Presidents of EurAsEC member-states have informal meeting in Russia’s Sochi
This summit is called informal as it allows the presidents to address any issues they wish. The heads of state naturally wished to discuss further integration.

In Sochi the presidents decided that the Customs Union of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) will be initially based on three countries — Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told a news conference after the summit. According to him, the EurAsEC state leaders had harmonized and signed the documents that instruct the Executive Secretariat of the EurAsEC and three countries — Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan — to establish the regulatory framework of the Customs Union. “The ultimate goal of our integration is the accession of all EurAsEC member-states to the Customs Union,” Putin said.

In turn, Alexander Lukashenko noted that Belarus would never slow down any integration initiative and would do its best to establish the Customs Union of the EurAsEC. The president underlined that if Belarus becomes a part of the Customs Union, all economic entities should have equal business conditions. “This is our key requirement. I appreciate my colleagues’ understanding of Belarus’ position,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president said he was satisfied with the results of the Sochi summit. “We finally arrived at a conclusion that the post-Soviet space should have a full-scale Customs Union. Three countries — Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan — are closer to the union than other EurAsEC members,” Alexander Lukashenko said, adding that Tajikistan was doing its best to unify documents with other EurAsEC countries, however, it does not have a common border with Belarus.

The president called the talks in Russia’s Sochi constructive. During the informal meetings of the presidents on August 15 and 16 a wide range of integration issues was addressed, including the forthcoming CIS summit in Minsk.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan as the three states that are closest to the establishment of the Customs Union, will be doing their best to form the regulatory framework of the Union as fast as possible. The documents to create the Customs Union will be presented to relevant authorities by the end of this year so that they all might be ratified by July 2007. The remaining members of the EurAsEC will join the troika deal as soon as they are ready.

The integration core of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan will become another step forward from the outpost that Belarus and Russia have reached, Belarus’ Ambassador to Russia and Permanent Representative of Belarus in the EurAsEC Vasily Dolgolev told reporters.

“This “pair” of states is clearly not enough, so when we have a core of three countries — Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan — it will turn into a locomotive to pull integration forward,” Vasily Dolgolev said.

During the Sochi summit the heads of state also issued a decision to prepare a concept of the common energy market. The presidents confirmed the willingness of the EurAsEC member-states to expand cooperation horizons. Water power resources and nuclear energy were also high on the agenda. The heads of state also addressed the creation of a system of international centers to provide nuclear cycle services under the supervision of the IAEA, which is expected to open new opportunities in the nuclear energy segment.

The presidents analyzed the cooperation between the EurAsEC and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or the CSTO. Armenia’s President Robert Kocharyan took part in the discussion, as Armenia is an observer in the EurAsEC and a full member of the CSTO.

The heads of state concluded that the cooperation of these integrating institutions was very promising.
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