Lukashenko hopes Ukraine will join common economic space


Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he hopes other post-Soviet countries, including Ukraine, would be able to join the project to form a common economic space within the framework of a customs union.

"Now that we have made a step in shaping a customs union today, other former Soviet republics are ready to join us. Ukraine is most important for us. I am convinced they can't do without us, either," Lukashenko said in Minsk on Thursday during talks with a delegation of Russia' Volga Federal District, led by presidential envoy Grigory Rapota.

Therefore, "the customs union is a very important step we are making today - a crucial step, being made by Russia. The moment Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made the decision to move in this direction, we started working and came to the signing of an agreement on the customs union within a year," he said.

"This involved concessions and compromises on the part of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, but we have done this work," he also said.

"If Russia demonstrates the willingness, we will swiftly and effectively come to what you and the public in Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan wish," Lukashenko said.

On the schedule of shaping a common economic space, Lukashenko said, "We could do this in one year, in 2010."

Medvedev said on November 27 that Moscow was interested in the earliest possible formation of a common economic space as the highest degree of integration.


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