ST. PETERSBURG, 26 December (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko attended the informal meeting of the CIS heads of state on 26 December, BelTA has learned.
The CIS leaders gathered at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library. The library is located in the center of St. Petersburg in the historical building of the Synod on Senate Square. The library is often used for such meetings and summits.
Such meetings of heads of state in the run-up to New Year have already become a good tradition. Russian President Vladimir Putin invited his counterparts to meet in St. Petersburg at the end of the year as he attended the summit of the Eurasian Economic Union in Bishkek on 9 December.
While entering the library Aleksandr Lukashenko had a brief conversation with journalists.
When asked what 2023 will be like, the president said: "The happiest, the most successful. Don't worry, everything will be fine."
The president was also asked how he was doing before the summit. "I am OK," Aleksandr Lukashenko replied. He noted that as the New Year is drawing closer, the mood is growing more joyful: "It can't be better. It will be the best on the New Year's Eve."
The Russian leader welcomed the participants of the meeting. 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.
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.
According to him, in terms of creating favorable conditions for trade, CIS states 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.