Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk prior to the Supreme State Council of the Union State Russia-Belarus meeting in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 6, 2023. (PHOTO / SPUTNIK, KREMLIN POOL VIA AP)
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko vowed on Thursday to push ahead the integration process between the two countries.
The two leaders made the remarks when jointly chairing a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus in the Kremlin.
At the meeting, Putin noted that "significant achievements" had been made in the integration of 28 prioritized sectors approved during the previous Supreme State Council meeting in 2021.
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"To date, both governments and the relevant agencies have completed 74 percent of the activities planned under those prioritized programs and this work is yielding tangible results. We will certainly continue this without slowing down," he said.
Russia and Belarus signed seven documents in a bid to further deepen Russia-Belarus integration
Russia and Belarus will continue to create a unified oil and gas market, while an agreement on the formation of a single electricity market is being prepared, Putin said.
In addition, Moscow and Minsk will continue to build up defense and security cooperation, which meets the underlying interests of the two countries given the complicated international situation, he told the meeting.
Lukashenko stressed the significance of fully implementing the Treaty on the Creation of the Community of Belarus and Russia signed in 1996, a fundamental document that started the integration process of the two neighbors.
Over the past 27 years since then, the Belarus-Russia trade volume has increased by more than 4.5 times, he said, adding that industrial cooperation has led to the partnership of over 8,000 Belarusian and Russian enterprises and created hundreds of thousands of jobs.
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In the defense field, Lukashenko said that the steps taken to strengthen border security have made it possible to effectively protect the Union State from international terrorism, uncontrolled migration flows, arms and ammunition smuggling, drug trafficking and illegal economic activities.
After the meeting, the two sides signed seven documents in a bid to further deepen Russia-Belarus integration.