13 Nov 2019 13:24

Belarusian PM says roadmaps on integration with Russia to be signed only if country's interests taken into account

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) - Minsk will sign roadmaps on integration with Russia only if Belarus's interests are taken into account, according to Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas.

"We will sign the roadmaps only if Belarus's interests are taken into account," the state news agency BelTA cited Rumas as saying.

In October, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei told tut.by that the signing of an integration program depends on the solution of oil and gas issues.

"I cannot definitively tell you right know whether it [Belarus] is ready [to sign the integration program in December]. But the logic of our actions is this: before we discuss the crowning of our integration and any strategic goals, either short- or medium-term, we should solve pressing problems, such as oil and gas prices, the tax maneuver, and problems with the delivery of agricultural and industrial products," Makei said.

The interviewer asked what Minsk would do if problems were not solved by December. "I can't tell; this is a hypothetical question. Our task is to solve these problems, so let's wait and see," he said.

Earlier in October, Makei told RBC that Belarus's priority is solving oil and gas issues. "We are interested in finding our solution to all of these blatant, glaring issues that are lying right on the surface today. I think that if they're not resolved, it will be difficult to talk about signing a program of further steps, because we will not understand the logic of our partners," Makei said.

At the end of 2018, Belarus and Russia decided to create a working group on integration issues. It is co-chaired by Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin and Belarusian Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi.

Moscow and Minsk are currently finalizing roadmaps on integration under the updated program of steps toward the creation of the Union State. Earlier, the countries' prime ministers, Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Rumas, said the program and roadmaps would be presented to their presidents in December.