7 Dec 2019 17:08

Putin hopes Russia, Belarus will ensure their people benefit from integration

SOCHI, Bocharov Ruchei. Dec 7 (Interfax) - Russia and Belarus should continue doing everything for their people to feel close and gain noticeable advantages from the two countries' integration, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"Our colleagues at the governmental level, ministers and heads of government, have done quite a big job of analyzing what was done under our Union State agreement signed earlier, talked about what needs to be done and how to fulfill what is yet to be fulfilled under this document, to be able to keep up to date with changing circumstances, including our relations with the rest of our colleagues in the Eurasian Economic Union," Putin said at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

He proposed discussing prospects, noting the "landmark" significance of the meeting.

"I express my words of gratitude to you for today being here in Russia, I want to express my hope that we will continue to do everything for our peoples and countries to feel their closeness, to continue moving forward, primarily, of course, on the economy, but also in the social sphere which I consider to be extremely important, and to derive noticeable advantages from this integration," Putin said.

In the beginning of the meeting Putin thanked Lukashenko for coming to Sochi for talks.

"Firstly, we are grateful to you for accepting our invitation and coming to us today. And it's important that it is today, because tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the Union Treaty," the Russian president said.

Lukashenko, in turn, thanked Putin for the invitation and the fine weather in Sochi these days.

"Indeed, it's the eve of a great - I wouldn't say holiday, - a great event, the 20th anniversary. A lot has been done in these 20 years and it is known and there's a lot of work ahead and we're not concealing that," the Belarusian president said.

He also noted the work of the two countries' governments, which analyzed the treaty in terms of "what can be done and what we don't need to do today to avoid excessive work."

"But you and I addressed this issue repeatedly. And, as you've said, often adjusted the actions of our groups, our teams to analyze and develop certain plans of further integration between our states," Lukahsenko told the Russian president.

The Belarusian president said that the watched Russian television channels and re-read Telegram channels ahead of the meeting.

"Everyone is asking, what's with Lukashenko, what is he bringing there, why did he even came?" the Belarusian leader said.

"I would say, Vladimir Vladimirovich, that we have done a lot indeed, but we don't talk a lot about what we have done, but we should. We came only to analyze the process of our analysis, as you've said, our treaty and we don't ask anything, don't insist on anything, We are not asking for anything, we do not insist on anything. We have agreed long time ago: in developing our agreement, people and businesses should have equal terms for life and work. That is it, equal terms, nothing else is needed," the Belarusian president said.

Speaking about his working visit to Russia, Lukashenko also said that he feels at home in Sochi. "Really, my home, - warm and comfortable, you were there and saw for yourself, - is just behind the [border] fence there. Therefore, one can say, I am here in my home," the Belarusian leader said.

Members of media began leaving the meeting hall after the end of its protocol part and someone accidentally turned off the light in the room. "[Electricity is] out," Putin joked.

Lukashenko responded in a joke, too, "It was [presidential spokesman] Dima Peskov, I know."