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26 December 2022, 16:59

Putin: CIS countries remain committed to cooperation

ST. PETERSBURG, 26 December (BelTA) – The CIS countries remain committed to continuing to build cooperation in a spirit of respect and partnership, and the CIS informal summit testifies to that, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the CIS informal summit in St. Petersburg on 26 December, BelTA has learned.

The Russian head of state thanked the leaders of the CIS countries for accepting the invitation to attend the traditional pre-New Year informal meeting. "The fact that we have once again gathered in such a friendly circle eloquently testifies to our commitment to continuing to jointly build cooperation in the CIS in the spirit of genuine strategic partnership, mutual benefit and consideration of the interests of all countries," Vladimir Putin said. Speaking about the agenda of the meeting, he proposed to take stock of the outgoing 2022, to discuss plans for the future and regional and international issues of concern to all.

According to the Russian president, the CIS countries did well in 2022, which is confirmed by the steady growth of trade: in January-October it increased by 6.6% to $81.5 billion. "There is reason to expect that by the end of this year it will reach $100 billion," he said. "All this is happening in the context of a difficult situation caused by volatility in global markets, unfavorable global economic trends, and the sanctions by some countries."

According to the Russian leader, the CIS countries have started to use national currencies in mutual payments more. "The CIS took coordinated measures to replace imports and ensure technical sovereignty, independence, to ramp up joint industrial production and scientific potential. As a result, the economic and financial sovereignty of the CIS states was strengthened, domestic markets for goods, services and capital expanded dynamically, and regional integration deepened," Vladimir Putin said.

Strengthening of security and stability in the Eurasian region is one of the key areas of cooperation in the CIS, the Russian president said. "Unfortunately, the challenges and threats in this area, primarily from the outside, are only growing every year. Unfortunately, we have to admit that disagreements also arise between the member states of the CIS. The main thing, however, is that we are committed to cooperation. If CIS countries face any issues, they seek to resolve them by joint efforts, together, providing each other with comradely assistance and mediation," the Russian leader said.

It is in this vein that the CIS countries cooperate on the fight against terrorism and extremism, cross-border crime, drug trafficking and corruption. This year, close operational contacts are still maintained between the national security agencies and special services, other structures responsible for ensuring law and order and internal stability.

As for preserving the common humanitarian space and expanding various exchanges between citizens, Vladimir Putin emphasized the unifying power of the Russian language. He said that it had been decided to hold the Year of the Russian Language in the CIS in 2023, adding that an extensive program has been prepared.

The Russian president expressed confidence that deepening interaction within the CIS meets the fundamental interests of the peoples of the CIS countries, helps solve problems of social and economic development more effectively and strengthens regional stability and security.

“Thank you once again for accepting the invitation to come to St. Petersburg. It was a common desire, but still formally it was a Russian initiative. I am grateful to you for your support. I sincerely congratulate you on the coming New Year. I wish you, your relatives and friends, and the citizens of your countries health, happiness, wellbeing and prosperity,” the Russian leader added.

After a brief speech of the Russian president, the floor was taken by Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Considering that Kazakhstan presided in the CIS in 2022, he summarized the results of this period and outlined the most urgent tasks for the development of cooperation within the CIS.

According to him, in terms of creating favorable conditions for trade, one should thoroughly work on eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers and avoiding protectionism. It is necessary to establish cooperation in food security. We also need new mechanisms and formats of cooperation to improve the efficiency of transport and logistics projects in the CIS.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev drew special attention to cooperation in security and the joint struggle against terrorism and extremism. In order to adapt the organization to modern global realities, it is necessary to improve its potential and strengthen the position of the CIS in the international arena.

Afterwards the heads of state went to an informal lunch on behalf of Vladimir Putin in honor of the CIS leaders.

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