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Alexander Lukashenko urges Russia to decide on future of integration projects

On September 20, Alexander Lukashenko addressed the question concerning the future of common projects of Belarus and Russia at the meeting with Grigory Rapota, the State Secretary of the Belarus-Russia Union State.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I didn’t hide and I will not hide during this conversation that there are a lot of problems in our country at the moment. There is too much criticism towards the integration at the level of two countries and at the level of the Eurasian Economic Union and even the CIS. However, the CIS performs its function. The most important is the Eurasian Economic Union and Belarus-Russia Union State. Suffice it to say that the trade and economic relations between two countries weren’t good enough. Moreover, there was a drop by 40%. It is sad that even in comparison with last unfortunate year, the turnover has increased by 10% in six month. It’s no good at all. We are always proud to say that the turnover has decreased but we gained in terms of volume. What does it mean? It means that we transport to Russia large volume of goods for the half of the price. What is the benefit for Belarus? Almost zero. Moreover, we couldn’t agree on the gas price for several months. Thus, Russia reduced oil supplies to Belarus. We perceive it as pressure on Belarus, but I will not stand the pressure and Belarusian won’t do it either. Our food supplies to Russia are blocked, however, the EU buys our products. However, in Russia, they happen to be “of low quality”. It’s understandable. When we supply quality products and ask normal price for that, it hits oligarchs in their pockets. They put pressure on the government. Thus, they open 3 enterprises in Belarus, then close 5, they open 5, then they close 6 enterprises. Obviously, there is pressure. Why am I so open about this? It’s because I’m fed up with it. This situation cannot continue. Also, I’m saying this for you to understand under which circumstances we are talking about the future of our common projects. It doesn’t mean that we will stop our integration projects, but our participation will be optimized. I instructed the government and the Presidential Administration to analyze our participation in the Eurasian Economic Union. Why should we have all this officials there, if the situation continues? There are more than thousand of them in the so-called government of the Eurasian Economic Union. Where is the result? Why should we pay for the expenses of specialists living in Moscow, the most expensive city of the world? There are our best people, we can take them back and find work for them here. I’m not saying it just to complain. No. But I’m saying that this cannot be kept in secret. We should come to a decision whether there will be the integration between the countries or not, and whether we will be carrying out our obligations or not. I would like to hear your opinion on this matter, and I want to ask you to defend common interests of Belarus and Russia more actively. I would like to ask you to prompt Russia to address these problematic issues. Otherwise, there will be again a lot of disputes or silence at the Council. We need to move forward, if we decide to hold such meeting at the highest level.

Grigory Rapota, the State Secretary of the Belarus-Russia Union State:
Of course, we have some problems from time to time. Problems will always appear, it’s natural. Our task is to help with the solutions of these problems.

Alexander Lukashenko urges Russia to decide on future of integration projects