nsnbc : Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev arrived, today, in Belarus to participate in a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Council, hosted by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. The agenda of the summit includes talks about progress made in the work on the draft Eurasian Union Treaty and the implementation of the roadmap on Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union.
The summit discussed the accession of Armenia into the union.
Speaking at a press conference at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in the capital of Belarus, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that there are a number of outstanding issues about the establishment of the EEC, but that the three countries can further explore them and find compromises. Putin stressed that a lot of work had been done already, saying that the union is the most advanced integration project in the post-Soviet region. Putin underlined that the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is functional already and that it yields real and tangible benefits. He added:
“We see the results in the economic performance of our countries. This, is absolutely obvious. … But we can take one more of the steps (which we have agreed on), one further step to deepen our cooperation, to advance our cooperation to a higher level”.
Putin praised the progress which the three countries governmental experts had made with regard to drafting the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union. Referring to the 600-page draft document Putin said:
“This will allow us to improve the competitiveness of our economies, make the more efficient and attract both domestic and foreign investment. The huge market of 170 million people, which we have created, can acquire an entirely new quality, become attractive, more effective and more meaningful”.
Putin acknowledged that there are some remaining issues which have not been solved on an expert level and added that this is why the three heads of state have gathered in Minsk for the summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev told reporters that remaining disagreements about the European Economic Union are resolvable, that there is no need to rush things. Addressing the progress made, also with regard to Armenia’s accession, Nazarbayev said:
“I don’t think that we should rush the matter. There is, however, a possibility to meet the deadline and address all the issues. We can come to an agreement. … We are nearing the signing of the document, and I agree with what Alexander Lukashenko has said, that we have covered the bigger part of this way. … In his words, the experts worked hard and today other partners show interest in this union. ... I agree they should do all the same things we talked about from the very beginning. We respect these wishes of the countries and it is clear that our union appeals to them”.
The host of the summit in Minsk, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, said that the integration of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia should not be turned into a process for the sake of the process, and that the efficiency of the union will depend on its attractiveness for other states. Lukashenko said:
“The union itself should acquire greater integrity from its expansion. … No one is pushing us. We set are setting our own schedules. But, I think that we should not turn it into a process for the sake of the process itself”.
Lukashenko suggested that the admission of new members could be based on a package principle, providing no special conditions or statuses. He said:
“I believe it will be fair, first of all with respect to our countries that implemented every stage of this integration process in full”.
Today’s summit has been held against the backdrop of a deepening crisis in Ukraine, growing security challenges in the region and western sanctions against Russia. Economic analysts consider greater Eurasian integration as prudent, considering the increasing propensity toward the collapse of the Bretton Woods monetary systems.
Ch/L – nsnbc 29.04.2014