Putin wants deeper integration with Belarus

It is important not only to develop the common economic space of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, but also to step up cooperation in the framework of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The Union State represents a more advanced stage of integration, Putin noted.

The Russian and Belarusian leaders met in Moscow to discuss the situation in Ukraine and cooperation between the two countries in countering crises in economy at a session of state council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

“This time, we gathered to discuss one of the key issues of our cooperation – the development of the Union State, and much has been done in this respect over the last years,” Putin said at talks with Belarusian president Aliaksandr Lukashenka on Tuesday.

“One does not substitute for another, if we are talking about creating a common market together with Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, creating common economic space,” he added. “In the framework of the Union State, there are certain issues and tasks that we tackle, and in this sense, it [the Union State] is in some way more advanced, especially if we look at social issues and how we solve them in the interests of our citizens,” Putin stressed.

It is planned to sign four bilateral documents after the session, Russian news agency TASS reports. In particular, an agreement on exchanging data on Russian and Belarusian citizens restricted from travelling will be signed. Moscow and Minsk will also sign an agreement on joint recognition of restrictions for entering the countries of the Union State, as well as on joint execution of court decisions on alimony. One more document will deal with introducing changes to the agreement of securing equal rights of citizens of the two countries for freedom of movement and residence on the territory of the Union State from January 24, 2006.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin also conferred an Order of Alexander Nevsky upon Aliaksandr Lukashenka, news agency BelTA says.

The order is bestowed upon Russian and foreign political and public figures, representatives of the business community of foreign countries for ‘contribution to cooperation with the Russian Federation and assistance with the country’s social and economic development’.

www.belsat.eu/en/, following TASS, BelTA

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