A plenary meeting of the 3rd Forum of Regions is taking place in Minsk's Palace of the Republic. The CTV crew is now there, too. The third forum is already in the final stages. The sides signed some contracts and agreements.
The plenary session as the final accord of the Forum of Regions brought together not only the heads of various ministries of Russia and Belarus, deputy prime ministers, but also the first persons of Belarus and Russia: Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin. Valentina Matviyenko and Mikhail Myasnikovich, heads of upper chambers of the Russian and Belarusian parliaments, had brief talks with heads of regions before the start of the Forum.
Mikhail Myasnikovich said that joint Russian-Belarusian projects involving third countries should become a priority. Particularly, he singled out China, with which Belarus is implementing several large investment projects. Also today, Belarus is actively working out an agreement on the single economic zone with India. This project attracts not only Russia and Belarus: large multinational companies are also expressing interest.
Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus:
Everything seems to be settled. And indeed, there are equal rights, and law, and direct law enforcement practice. When you start looking deeper, you see some things that to some extent adversely affect the overall normal climate. Note, today we heard such good and bold proposals. It turned out that at the national and federal level, Belarus and the Russian Federation have all intergovernmental documents and all decisions seem to be made. But it is necessary to ensure that school cooperates with school, university with university... So that they don't treat each other as foreign institutions. And then it will be much easier to deal with all other issues of socio-political nature.
Valentina Matviyenko, Chairwoman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation:
It would be right for us to come step by step to the creation of a common visa space. There is no alternative to that. This will allow us to more actively develop the tourism industry in Belarus and Russia, it will allow us to offer joint tourism products, attract foreign guests and other partners into our country.
Some documents have been signed today. In particular, the Mogilev and Tula regions have agreed on cooperation in trade-economic, R&D and cultural spheres.
The Minister of Culture of Russia Vladimir Medinsky suggested resuming the practice of joint work on movies. Valentina Matviyenko and Mikhail Myasnikovich, in turn, assured that the parliaments of both countries will monitor the implementation of the planned projects.
Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture of Russian Federation:
I want to propose two projects at once, which could bring together our filmmakers. The first project is the film Gromyko, and the second project is called Sobibor. Maybe not everyone knows about it, but an obscure extermination camp was located right on the border of Belarus and Poland. A group of Soviet prisoners of war organized the only mass escape from a death camp in the history of the Great Patriotic War, with that extermination camp eventually destroyed. We have a brilliant script. We are ready to build a whole town here together with BelarusFilm.
During the break, in the sidelines of the forum, participants continued to discuss operational issues, establish business contacts and share experiences.
Konstantin Sumar, member of the Council of the Republic National Assembly of Belarus:
Such meetings are useful; there is an exchange of views. Even if not in that room, we still meet, on the sidelines, to discuss something to work on. As for impressions, it is good that we have started to talk about the problems our states have and about the tasks we will have to solve.
Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin are expected to partake in the plenary session too. After that, the presidents will go to the exhibition BelAgro 2016.