President gets draft project of Belarus-Russia integration from govt

The government handed over a Belarus-Russia integration project to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, reports.

“The draft program has been submitted to the presidential administration for further approval by the head of state,” Alyaksandra Isayeva, Spokesperson for the Belarusian government, said.

In late August, Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas announced that the draft program would be considered by the Belarusian leader soon. According to him, Minsk and Moscow might initial it September. After that, the document will be given to the world so that the ‘fears of offending sovereignty’ could be allayed, he added.

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At the end of 2018, the Belarusian-Russian relations significantly deteriorated. In late December. there were some meetings of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader pressed for ‘further integration’ while his Belarusian counterpart insisted on reducing gas prices and getting compensation for the tax maneuver.

On December 25, Lukashenka and Putin agreed to establish a working group on the integration within the Union State. Later, the leaders of Belarus and Russia repeatedly got back to the subject.

On May 29, during the meeting in Nur-Sultan, Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka discussed the prospects of the integration process. According to Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, the leaders instructed the governments to develop integration measures by the end of June.

On June 4, Syarhei Rumas and State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota met in Minsk to discuss an action plan on integration. The document was to be prepared by 21 June. However, the details of the negotiations were under wraps. For example, the government refused to disclose any information to opposition MPs Alena Anisim and Hanna Kanapatskaya. Oddly, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey remained tight-lipped about the talks saying that it would be ‘premature’.

Meanwhile, opposition activists who believe that our country does not need the Union State, have launched the public campaign ‘Belarus Go!’ They are collecting signatures for our country’s withdrawal from the alliance.

In July, Lukashenka stressed that Belarus and Russia needed to address ‘all the issues in the bilateral relations’ ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Union State Treaty in December 2019.