Vladimir Putin had a meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. The two presidents discussed, in particular, bilateral cooperation in trade, the economy and investment, expanding cultural and humanitarian ties, and cooperation with the Russia-Belarus Union State, the Customs Union, and the Eurasian Economic Union.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko, friends, good evening. Please allow me to welcome you to Ufa.
Belarus is certainly our closest strategic partner and ally. We cooperate in all areas, from military sphere to humanitarian, and resolve social issues in the interest of our citizens, developing cooperative ties within the framework of the Union State, as well as the Customs Union, and now the Eurasian Economic Union. We have many major, serious plans.
In light of your visit to Ufa, I would like to congratulate you on achieving the goal you have set for Belarus and which you asked us to support: enhancing Belarus status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
This matter can be considered resolved. Belarus gets observer status in this prestigious international organisation, whose role in the modern world is growing. We are confident that your participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s work will be beneficial for Belarus and all the participants in this process.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Putin, first of all, thank you for the opportunity to visit another wonderful corner of Russia. This is my first time here, but I feel in my gut, as we say in Belarus, that this is a very comfortable, beautiful city, and I understand that it has changed for this summit.
I feel very good here because this is almost a copy of our Belarus, especially north of Minsk: during our landing, we noticed that the natural landscape is very similar. We are experiencing a serious heat wave, so we have come here to rest.
I would like to discuss three sets of issues with you. First, I thank you again for the opportunity to meet with presidents that I have long wanted to meet, and we have been working on these meetings for a long time. I don’t even have to go anywhere, since I am meeting with four presidents on the same platform. And perhaps there will be more meetings.
Second, I want to discuss the problems of the Eurasian Economic Union, particularly with regard to Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO. Earlier, we determined that we would have consultations on this matter, so I would like to discuss it.
And third, you just stated that Belarus is the closest ally of the Russian President and the Russian Federation. We have issues in our bilateral relations; we are going through a period that is difficult but can certainly be overcome; here, I completely agree with you.
We have been dealing with this for a long time, and now you are going through it too, though perhaps to a lesser degree, so we need to discuss, based on the resolutions of our Union’s Council of Ministers, how to make further steps to overcome the negative trends that may occur soon.
These are the three areas I want to discuss. I won’t hold you long, I know and see on television that you have much to do as the host these days – meeting and talking with everyone. Still, we fully support Russia’s agreements with the world’s leading powers through these organisations, especially since we finally have organisations that risked contradicting, or rather taking somewhat different actions on the global arena.
This can only benefit all the people of the world. And the financial and economic steps you have taken recently within the framework of the SCO and BRICS are a very good direction, and I thank you for your support.
Now, Mr Sergei Lavrov will not reproach us for being oriented one way only – toward the West. I’m joking, of course. We will defend our interests and represent the common interests of these organisations. Thank you.