Mikhail Mishustin: Dear Roman Alexandrovich, I would like to welcome you and my colleagues in Kazan to the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council. We held talks with you back on April 16 in Minsk, discussed all the key issues facing Russia and Belarus on trade and economic cooperation and synchronized hours on the implementation of major projects that are always on our agenda, in industry, energy, transport and agro-industrial spheres. We also looked at issues related to union programs, talked in detail about how the implementation of these union programs would allow us to do more for our economies, for socio-economic development, for the good of people. That’s right – we discussed this with you, with President of Belarus Alexander Grigorievich Lukashenko.
In general, our trade and economic cooperation is developing successfully, and now, after such a peak in the pandemic situation, we are trying to increase mutual trade, it has decreased by about 17%, unfortunately, this is now about $ 29 billion. But in February-March, we recorded its growth, which is encouraging, by about 18% compared to the same period in 2020, to $ 5 billion.
We also promptly prepared and signed an intergovernmental agreement on the export of Belarusian oil products through Russian ports in the Baltic. I would like to thank our Belarusian colleagues, our colleagues, since the implementation of this intergovernmental agreement is ahead of schedule. In January, the first power unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant was brought up to full capacity. The construction of the second unit is proceeding normally, and we look forward to its physical launch in the near future. And I would also like to say that we are pleased with the joint production of the Sputnik V vaccine, which is currently launched in Belarus.
I really hope, and we talked about this in detail with you, that as the epidemiological situation normalizes, we will gradually restore all transport links. In principle, citizens of Belarus and Russia can easily move between St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad, Sochi and Minsk. And today Kazan has already been added – the project has been implemented. And within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union, the mobile application “Traveling without COVID-19” is very actively used. It, as we have said many times, allows citizens of the Union to enter Russia by air, subject to the presentation of negative tests for coronavirus.
I also hope that the program of our cultural interaction, which we signed with you, both last year and this year, will allow our people to get acquainted with the values of our fraternal peoples and attend cultural events. Both the Year of Russia in Belarus and the Year of Belarus in Russia will help us with this. I would like to say once again that we will focus our work on mutual interests, and thank you for this period – so far a short period since we have not met – of fruitful work. I give you the floor, dear Roman Alexandrovich.
R. Golovchenko: Thank you, dear Mikhail Vladimirovich! Today, the entire Belarusian delegation had an excellent opportunity, on the eve of our summit, the EAEU Intergovernmental Council, to visit and work in the Republic of Tatarstan, which is a large and important partner of Belarus, ranks first in the Volga Federal District and sixth among all regions of Russia in terms of trade with us. We took advantage of the kind invitation of the President of Tatarstan, yours, Mikhail Vladimirovich, and worked very actively and substantively, as they say, in the field, as we like, without long conversations, and again checked our watches on all promising projects.
I am glad that the same dynamics of cooperation can be traced in almost all regions of Russia. At the interstate level, we have a very positive dynamic of contacts, we meet very often, and the presidents of our countries meet and discuss pressing issues. We are holding our next meeting today, and you can probably lose track of how many took place this year alone, which is very cool. And the frequency of these meetings also speaks of our sincere intentions to find mutually beneficial solutions, find new projects and fill the bilateral agenda with concrete deeds that will work for the benefit of our peoples.
Therefore, today, there is probably no point in talking about any new projects, we have already worked out them enough, are implementing, we continue to work on a package of integration documents. On April 23, we handed over to the Russian side the projects of 26 union programs provided by the Belarusian side. This is a lot of work that the industry departments have done. As you know, two union programs remain in the works. On our instructions, the deputy heads of the governments are leading the work and continue constructive negotiations on this topic. I am sure that all the necessary solutions will be found in the interests of both sides.
The heads of state, as you know, during their recent meeting on April 22 in Moscow discussed and mapped out the further trajectory of the movement. The schedule of upcoming high-level events between Russia and Belarus was announced. The Forum of Regions will take place in June. This is a traditional event, very important for strengthening interregional cooperation. After the Forum of Regions, we plan to attend a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers on the eve of the meeting of the Supreme State Council, which is scheduled for this fall. Based on such a schedule, which is quite intense, but, I think, feasible, we must build our work.
New projects appear. Just recently, a new point of cooperation was identified – this is the activation of contacts in the development and creation of such sensitive elements as electronic component bases. An exchange of visits by relevant specialists has already taken place. And we very much hope for the full involvement of a large Belarusian manufacturer of microcircuits and semiconductor components – JSC Integral, as well as other manufacturers of equipment for the production of microcircuits in scientific, technical and industrial cooperation with Russian partners, both in civil and other spheres. We are ready to consider this issue today.
Therefore, Mikhail Vladimirovich, we are disposed, as always, for fruitful and constructive work together with the Russian side. Thank you.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.