MINSK, 23 December (BelTA) – Virtually the entire Belarusian-Russian integration package has been reconciled. First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dmitry Krutoi made the relevant statement during a reception hosted by the Russian embassy in Belarus on 23 December, BelTA has learned.
According to Dmitry Krutoi, only several issues are left to be addressed. Decisions on them are supposed to be found within days. The official stressed that the Belarusian-Russian dialogue is primarily focused on economic affairs. Political matters are not on the agenda.
Dmitry Krutoi said: “Today all things considered, the entire integration package has been reconciled except for several matters, which I think will be clarified within the next 2-3 days. And we will select the time for our leaders to sign it or initial it. Certainly, it will give an absolutely unprecedented new impulse to the advancement of our relations. Primarily economic ones.”
The first deputy prime minister stated that the work was very slow initially when they started preparing the program on tighter Belarus-Russia integration. “There is nothing surprising about it. Particularly because in the last few years the Russian Federation happened to be in a very complicated situation, faced unprecedented external pressure, and had to transform its economic and financial policy. Hence the budget consolidation followed by new rules, the tax maneuver, the import substitution policy, and the rest,” Dmitry Krutoi said. “As the closest partners it looked to us as if the measures had targeted us. Russian colleagues from industry-specific ministries explained we were mistaken. And today we can feel it.”
“All the gas, oil, and sugar wars we've seen, problems with sales of tractors, milk, and what not certainly left an imprint of absolutely unhealthy confrontation on our regulators. The confrontation interfered with our work initially. But when people came to understand that things are serious, that it was an attempt to build economic relations on a new footing as per instructions from the very top, that there was no need to be afraid of the most progressive forms of cooperation and interaction, frankly speaking, the process got off the ground,” First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dmitry Krutoi stated.
Dmitry Krutoi congratulated the ambassador and the Russian nation on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. The anniversary was marked on 8 December. “It is a most important historical document, which was years ahead of the development of our country and, I think, of the Russian Federation judging by the atmosphere of the meetings of our presidents in December,” he said.
According to the first deputy prime minister, they hear a lot of fair and justified criticism about the failure to implement all the provisions of the document and the document's need for major rework and polish. “Nevertheless, all the provisions are absolutely topical. It is fair to treat this project as the most advanced one in the post-Soviet space at least,” Dmitry Krutoi believes. “The base of the document remains unchanged – economy. The presidents talk only about economy for 90% of their time. Our economic relations have advanced far over the course of 20 years even considering the unhurried implementation of the treaty. Russia has become a full-value strategic partner and ally for us.”
The first deputy prime minister noted with regret that many political forces have used the ongoing integration work in their own interests and often made connections between this work and some political agenda. There was and there is no political agenda, Dmitry Krutoi assured. “The integration union is being built on absolutely equal relations,” he stressed.
In turn, Ambassador Dmitry Mezentsev welcomed the numerous guests and mentioned positive relations that had evolved between Belarus and Russia and their advancement to new heights. “When we talk about integration within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, we should keep in mind that it is being done for the benefit of millions of people. And for the benefit of allied countries, for the benefit of stability, peace, and security in Eurasia and the world,” he is convinced.
The diplomat stated it is completely natural for two close and brotherly countries to sometimes fail to come to terms right away and keep arguing about some things. “The texture of the economic relations being built today is that complicated,” he said.
“The stronger our relations with Belarus become, the more attractive the cooperation and partnership we are building with the closest neighbors become it seems to me,” Dmitry Mezentsev stressed.