Moscow has sent proposals on further Russia-Belarus integration to Minsk, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said after Wednesday’s address to the nation’s lower house of parliament.
According to him, Belarus remains Russia’s closest partner, but to make the integration ‘more substantial’, corresponding proposals have been passed to its authorities.
“We will continue developing our cooperation, but we must remember, of course, that this cooperation must be mutually advantageous in the end. The isue has been repeatedly discussed at the level of the presidents and prime ministers. These negotiations will continue on all trajectories, from industrial cooperation to activity on the markets of third countries,” news agency TASS quotes Medvedev.
At the moment, Minsk is ‘deciding what is acceptable for them and what is less acceptable’, he added.
The topic of integration and the creation of a union state under the 1999 treaty was widely discussed after the statement by Dmitry Medvedev in December last year in Brest.
“I want to emphasize: Russia is ready to continue to move along the path of building the Union State, including the creation of a single emission center, a single customs, court, and a chamber of accounts in the manner prescribed by the agreement on the creation of the Union State of December 8, 1999,” said Medvedev during the Union Council of Ministers in the city above the River Buh.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka became outraged by the statement. “I no longer say a brotherly state, because, as they report to me, in Russia this is not perceived as such. Apparently, new people came [to power] for whom this concept is unacceptable. Well, then we will be partners,” he said.
At the end of 2018, the Belarusian-Russian relations significantly deteriorated. In late December. there were some meetings of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader pressed for ‘further integration’ while his Belarusian counterpart insisted on reducing gas prices and getting compensation for the tax maneuver. The talks seem to have ended in deadlock.
In mid February, Lukashenka spent three days in Sochi where he repeatedly met with Vladimir Putin. They were reported to be discussing some of the most pressing issues, but no breakthrough was made.
On April, 2 Belarus and Russia celebrated the Day of Unity. This year, the Minsk authorities turned down pro-Russian organizations’s application for authorizing a picket on the occasion.