ASHGABAT, 11 October (BelTA) – We need to strengthen the CIS as a self-sufficient and effective association, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he spoke at the meeting of the CIS Heads of State Council in Ashgabat on 11 October, BelTA has learned.
The president emphasized the importance of the declaration on strategic economic cooperation which the CIS heads of state are expected to consider at the summit. “The recent developments in the world show that there is an objective need for strengthening the CIS as a self-sufficient and effective union. Economy has always been and remains the foundation of our interaction. This document has once again confirmed the readiness to consolidate the economic potential of the CIS countries, to deepen production, cooperation and trade ties,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian head of state suggested intensifying cooperation across key areas such as transport, energy, industrial cooperation, mutual investment and trade.
“We can expand the domestic market of our countries, increase its capacity, by, first of all, continuing to liberalize trade in goods and services. Additional opportunities may be provided by a return to full-scale industrial cooperation, setting up new competitive joint ventures,” the Belarusian leader said.
In his words, the CIS Economic Development Strategy through 2030 is almost ready. The president suggested supplementing it with concrete breakthrough projects, which may become common promising points of economic growth. “I suggest instructing the Executive Committee to work on it together with the governments and work out the corresponding proposals,” the head of state said.
According to him, the most important task on the economic agenda is the development of a full-fledged free trade zone. “We are interested in the prompt completion of the draft agreement on free trade in services. The use of the potential of this sector is in the interests of all the CIS countries. We must admit, however, that the process of preparing the agreement at the expert level is running over time. I think it is appropriate to set strict time limits for the final revision of the document,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
“Dear colleagues, let us not fool each other. The further we delay the process of our economic unity, the more reasons emerge for us all (the states) to look in the other direction, looking for a better future somewhere else, as I said at the EAEU summit. It is just unclear for what,” the Belarusian head of state said.
In his words, the CIS is a huge market. “Let us work closer with each other. Let us further build our economic relations, create interest for each state,” the Belarusian leader said.
The president stressed that a person or a state should be interested in joining any organization. “Attempting to make some state toe the line, humiliate it in some way... Look at what is going on in the world. Everyone starts fighting against each other. We need to become more united, to be as one. It is especially important today as we are approaching the 75th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. We were one. Everybody fought shoulder to shoulder for the common goal,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.More about President