15 march 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin takes part in Russian-Belarusian talks

Vladimir Putin spoke about the consolidation of assets of KamAZ and MAZ, two major car manufacturers. According to him, “the establishment of such a strategic alliance will naturally increase the competitiveness of Belarusian and Russian enterprises and create new stable, high-paying jobs”.

Transcript of the beginning of the talks:

Mikhail Myasnikovich: Mr Putin, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. We are pleased to welcome you in Minsk, on Belarusian land.

Due to a rather high level of integration between our states, I believe we have a number of urgent issues on the agenda. I believe you have discussed key issues both in private, and with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

I am grateful to our Russian colleagues for their positive attitude towards shared issues and the initiatives we have been working on together. I believe that all the agreements we have reached will be fulfilled by Belarus, for sure.

I'm pleased to say that because of the arrangements we reached at the meeting in Moscow on January 20 of this year, today we will sign agreements that are significant for our states.

First, I'd like to say a couple of words about energy. We are reaching a very high level of integration between our countries' energy systems and are launching the construction of a Belarusian nuclear power plant, and so developing an energy bridge with the European Union.

Resolving issues surrounding the financing of the nuclear plant's construction will allow for the practical reinforcement of the Belarusian power system, the development of a technological basis for a unified Belarusian and Russian power market. And chances are good that Kazakhstan will be able to connect up with it.

I am convinced that Belarus and Russia will be able to come to similar principles of integration in the fields of gas and oil. Thus, the national system for energy security has been strengthened by the common criteria of energy security. Incidentally, this approach corresponds with the provisions of the treaty on establishing the Union State. We haven't made use of all of its possibilities so far, especially in the fields that don't have a sufficiently developed legal framework within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, where Belarus has ratified all the agreements. I believe the Russian Federation will approve the corresponding resolutions in the nearest future. Of course, I am speaking about the necessity of launching particular projects. Mr Putin, I have informed you of these approaches. They include research and issues of military-technical cooperation, unified industrial policy, and a system of indicative balances.

We can consolidate our countries' assets in microelectronics, nanotechnology, mechanical engineering and other fields where, unfortunately, partners from other countries are reluctant to share their technology and knowledge as part of the Union State's joint projects. This will allow us to utilise all the potential our countries have in industry, science, and technology. And, of course, this experience can be arranged as part of the Common Economic Space. We would like to exchange views on this and other issues on the agenda. Please, Mr Putin, proceed.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Myasnikovich. I have already met with the Belarusian president: we made note of the stable growth of trade; it grew by 19% last year. This is very good trend.

We have a number of good, and interesting, projects planned in the investment field. I'll mention only one of those – the consolidation of the assets of two major car manufacturers: KamAZ and MAZ. The establishment of such a strategic alliance will naturally increase the competitiveness of Belarusian and Russian enterprises and create new stable, high-paying jobs. And this would, undoubtedly, be a significant step within the integration process relating to the real economy.

A number of important bilateral agreements are being concluded in the energy sector in order to ensure the parallel work of the two states' energy systems. Today we will be dealing with cooperation in social security and joint space exploration.

These agreements will facilitate the further strengthening of Russian-Belarusian partnership. And, of course, we are putting an emphasis on the integration process occurring within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.

Surprisingly, we have made rapid progress in preparing the fundamental elements of these integration structures and we have high expectations for this.

As for growth in trade, I would like to say that as usual you have "cheated" us – Russian exports grew by 8%, while Belarusian imports to Russia increased by more than 46%. I hope these dynamics are only temporary. We will try to strike a balance in terms of our imports and exports. Together we will work towards balanced relations in this field, thanks to the decisions we will make today. Thank you for your attention.

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had a brief conversation with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich before the Russian-Belarusian talks began.