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15 May 2023, 16:51

Russian MFA: Belarus-Russia relations can serve as a model of interstate cooperation

An archive photo
An archive photo

MOSCOW, 15 May (BelTA) – Relations between Belarus and Russia can set the pattern for interstate relations, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in connection with the official visit to Russia of Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Aleinik on 15-17 May, BelTA informs.

“It would not be an exaggeration to say that the relations between Russia and Belarus can serve as a model for building equal and mutually beneficial interstate relations, and the interaction within the Union State can be an example to follow for other integration associations in the post-Soviet space,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized.

“Belarus is Russia's closest ally and strategic partner. Our countries are linked by many years of friendship and mutual assistance, cultural and spiritual affinity, a common past and prospects for the future. Belarus and Russia effectively cooperate across a wide range of areas within the framework of the Union State. Particular attention is paid to ensuring equal rights of citizens of the two countries in the field of social security, access to education and medical care. The two nations are promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in foreign policy, trade and economy, defense, military industry, migration, culture, humanitarian field, as well as inter-parliamentary and inter-regional contacts. Every year, various joint programs and projects in security, medicine, science and technology and other areas are implemented using the funds of the Union State budget (the 2023 budget is estimated at almost RUB6 billion).

The state and prospects of the Union State are discussed at meetings of the Union State Supreme State Council chaired by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko (the last meeting of the Supreme State Council was held in Moscow on 6 April 2023), as well as the Union State Council of Ministers (the last meeting was held in Moscow on 27 March 2023), the Union State Council of Ministers High Level Group (the last meeting was held in Minsk on 14 February, the next one is scheduled to take place in the near future). A working group was put together in 2019 to develop integration proposals and implement the provisions of the Union State Treaty.

“The acceleration of integration processes in almost all areas was facilitated by the approval by the Union State Supreme State Council on 4 November 2021 of the “Main guidelines on implementing the Union State Treaty in 2021-2023” that includes 28 programs in a number of economic sectors, as well as the migration policy concept and the updated Union State Military Doctrine. They are designed to set forth the further steps to develop the Union State and promote an even greater unity of our fraternal nations. The implementation of the programs will lay the foundation for a common economic space in the interests of our citizens and entrepreneurs. As of the end of April, nine Union State programs and 76% of integration activities were implemented,” the ministry recalled.

The highest-level political dialogue remains vibrant. In 2022, the two heads of state met ten times. Since the beginning of 2023, the leaders of the two countries met in Moscow on 17 February, on 5-6 April and on 9 May.

Regular contacts are maintained between prime ministers, heads of the parliament chambers, deputy prime ministers, secretaries of security councils and department heads. Belarus and Russia maintain regular diplomatic contacts: Sergei Aleinik and Sergey Lavrov met in Minsk on 19 December 2022 and on 18-19 January 2023, and also on the sidelines of the CIS Ministerial Council meeting on 14 April 2023.

“The parliamentary dimension is of great importance for bilateral relations. Parliamentarians of Russia and Belarus actively interact on international platforms in order to further common interests and initiatives,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Twice a year, sessions of the Union State Parliamentary Assembly are held alternately in the two countries.

On 24-25 November 2022, Chair of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova paid an official visit to Russia. She met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, held talks with the heads of the chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, as well as Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov.

Cultural and humanitarian cooperation is facilitated by direct contacts between institutions of education, science, culture, sports, public associations as well as through interdepartmental and interregional cooperation programs. One of the highlights of cultural cooperation is the International Festival of Arts Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk and the Day of the Union State that is held on the sidelines of the festival. The days of culture were held in Belarus and Russia in 2022 as the two countries marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. A powerful impetus to cultural and spiritual ties was given by the visit to Belarus of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on 4-6 June 2022.

“By tradition, the two nations pay special attention to preserving historical memory and educating people about the common history. A number of campaigns and activities are held to mark Victory Day. They include Belarus Remembers and The Immortal Regiment, Memory Candle, Memory Train and Garden of Memory, as well as flower-laying ceremonies at the memorials of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

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