MOSCOW, 17 February (BelTA) - Opportunities for cooperation between Belarus and Russia are growing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Moscow on 17 February, BelTA has learned.
"As agreed, we will devote most of our time to the upcoming large meeting of the Supreme State Council [of the Union State] that will be attended by members of our governments. We will have a discussion, as usual, on the entire spectrum of our relationship. This applies to security issues and military cooperation. But the basis of everything is economy. I would like to note that the trade is growing. It hit a record high of over $43 billion last year. What is most important and what makes me very happy is growing opportunities in cooperation (although this work was well organized before), primarily in industrial cooperation," Vladimir Putin said.
The Russian president noted that Belarus was able to preserve enterprises left over from the Soviet years and bring them to a new level of development. "Together we can benefit from the results of this development. Moreover, by joining forces, we are creating a kind of synergy. On the one hand, there are your capabilities in manufacturing industries, and on the other hand, there are the needs of our market and additional efforts on the part of Russian enterprises, engineers, even the scientific school. These efforts have been very effective in some industries. We hope that this will yield good results for both Belarus and Russia," Vladimir Putin said.
The leaders of Belarus and Russia are also set to discuss the ways of bolstering the Union State, the status of the Union State programs. "They have been worked out by our governments. They create conditions, a basis for moving forward in our cooperation, primarily, of course, in economy," Vladimir Putin added. “I think that, given the current conditions, we will be able to talk over all issues that are of mutual interest calmly, in a working environment.”