Lukashenka meeting with Putin: Which issues will be raised?

Alyaksandr Lukashenka will pay a working visit to the Russian Federation where a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council will be held in Sochi on 14 May.

“The heads of state will discuss topical issues related to the operation and development of the organisation and ways to broaden cooperation across a number of areas. Belarus’ president is expected to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the state and prospects of the bilateral relations, issues of concern and the preparation for the forthcoming session of the Supreme State Council to be held in Minsk,” the press service reports.

It will be the first meeting of the two leaders in 2018.

On March 19, when congratulating Putin on winning the presidential election in Russia, Lukashenka expressed hope that his counterpart would will visit our Belarus for the session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State to ‘discuss topical issues of our bilateral cooperation’. However, the session is being deferred, and Lukashenka has to visit Russia himself.

The Belarusian president has repeatedly referred to the topics he would like to discuss with Mr Putin.

For example, in February he stressed the need of Russia’s assistance in the modernization and rearmament of the Belarusian army.

According to the Belarusian leader, the CSTO is ‘seriously underestimating’ the situation and Russia does not see the need to strengthen the national armed forces of Belarus and other member countries, which may ‘backfire’.

“I am not saying that we want, or again, as they say, demand money for some things or events. We all should understand that Belarus is the main outpost, including that of the Russian Federation, in the west,” he stated.

Apparently, the issue of supplies of Belarusian food products to the Russian market will also be raised.

In late March, Lukashenka recommended Belarusian producers to find new sales niches if they are facing problems with the delivery of food products to Russia.

“As for export, look for other markets. If Russia fails to understand us and does not want to understand, well, I will meet with the Russian president after the inauguration to discuss all the issues in detail. We need to clarify things. If they keep making us toe the line for no matter what, we will seek our fortune in some other places. Therefore, hunt for other markets. You should not focus on one market all the time,” he stressed.

During his recent visit to Georgia, Alyaksandr Lukashenka also expressed hope forthe positive development of the Belarusian-Russian relations during the new term of Putin.

“I have good relations with president Vladimir Putin. There have never been a case when we failed to resolve issues in our relations. We have always found a solution. Unfortunately, issues accumulate at ministerial and governmental level from time to time. Then, we have to get involved, which should not happen, of course. We often talk about it at our joint Belarusian-Russian events. Ministers and governments need to resolve issues by themselves and do not bring them to the highest level. But that is life, and we cannot walk away from it,” Lukashenka told Georgian journalists.

In his opinion, the issues in the Belarusian-Russian relations are mainly related to competition, development of the market economy. The two states have no problems in the sphere of politics, he added.