Putin to hold meeting of Russia-Belarus Union Council of Ministers

MOSCOW, October 28 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday will hold a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Russian-Belarusian Union State. Taking part the meeting will be Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky, State Secretary of the Union State Pavel Borodin, heads of the relevant ministries and departments of the two countries. The prime ministers will also held bilateral talks.

Itar-Tass was told at the Russian government's press service that the meeting agenda includes the assessment of the progress of the fulfilment of the joint Action Plan aimed at the minimisation of the financial crisis effects, improvement of the payment balance parameters, improvement of the conditions for business activities and mutual trade, the issue of the budget of the Union State for 2010, matters related to the development of the bilateral trade-economic ties. The sides also plan to discuss the expansion of cooperation in the fuel and energy sphere, formation of the common science and technology space, to consider the progress of the implementation of the Union State's Social Development Concept and a number of other issues.

Russian-Belarusian relations have the nature of union cooperation, the legal basis of which is the Agreement on the establishment of the Union State signed on December 8, 1999 and the Programme of Action aimed at the fulfilment of its clauses.

The integration processes have resulted in the creation of a factually single migration space: citizens of the two countries can travel to each other's country with internal national documents without customs and border control, they can stay in the territory of the other state without migration registration within 30 days. In accordance with the Agreement on the Customs Union of 1995 the free movement of goods and services is performed between the two states, they have reached a high level of unification of customs duties (about 95 percent). From January 1, 2010 Russia and Belarus jointly with Kazakhstan will set up the Customs Union within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) that envisages the introduction of the single customs tariff. The sides' close interaction is exercised in the issues of foreign policy, military and military-technical cooperation, including ensuring collective security.

Russia and Belarus have created a solid legal base in mutual relations - more than 140 interstate and intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The two countries are also cooperating within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), EurAsEC and Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) originated from the Commonwealth of Independent States customs union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on the 29 March 1996. The Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community was signed on October 10, 2000, in Kazakhstan's capital Astana by Presidents Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Emomali Rakhmon of Tajikistan. On October 7, 2005 it was decided between the member states that Uzbekistan would join. Freedom of movement is implemented among the members (no visa requirements). Common Economic Space is expected to be launched on January 1, 2010.

EurAsEC was established for effective promotion of the creation by the Customs Union member states of a Single Economic Space and for coordinating their approaches while integrating into the world economy and the international trade system. One of the Organization's chief activity vectors is ensuring the dynamic evolution of the Community states through coordinating their economic and social reforms while effectively using their economic potentials to improve the living standards of their peoples. Among the principal tasks of the Community are: completing the formalization of a free trade regime in all respects, creating a unified customs tariff and a unified system of non-tariff regulation measures; laying down the common rules for trade in goods and services and their access to internal markets; introducing a unified procedure for foreign exchange controls; creating a common unified system of customs regulation; drawing up and implementing joint programs of economic and social development; creating equal conditions for production and entrepreneurial activities; etc.

On October 7, 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, signed a charter in Tashkent, founding the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) or simply the Tashkent Treaty. Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed secretary general of the new organisation. On 23 June 2006, Uzbekistan became a full participant in the CSTO and its membership was formally ratified by its parliament on 28 March 2008. The CSTO is an observer organisation at the United Nations General Assembly.

On February 4, 2009, RF President Dmitry Medvedev announced that the rapid military reaction-force that would be deployed during a military aggression against an CSTO member would be "just as good as comparable NATO forces." He added that Russia would be ready to contribute a division and a brigade.



Partners: Social Network