Kazakhstan, Belarus Presidents Discuss Integration and Trade in Astana

ASTANA – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed bilateral cooperation in trade and the economic and industrial innovation sectors during an Oct. 3-4 visit by the Belarusian leader to Astana.

The two leaders also discussed strengthening cooperation in the agricultural sector and reviewed the development of integration processes in the post-Soviet area, especially within the Customs Union (CU) and the Common Economic Space (CES).

At the one-on-one meeting, Nazarbayev stressed that Lukashenko’s visit was evidence of the active dynamics of relations between the two countries in recent years and the strengthening of bilateral relations in politics, economic and culture.

“I remember the hospitality during my visit to Minsk last year. I believe this visit will further strengthen our relationship and will give a new impetus to all businesses, government and the joint commission,” Nazarbayev said.

Lukashenko noted that the peoples of the two countries have many similarities in their history and qualities, including the ability to work hard.

“The fact that we put the interests of our peoples at the base of our relationship is very valuable. It is unmistakable and will always be welcomed by new generations. I have come so we, as agreed, could monitor the progress of the execution of our orders. I think that alternate meetings in Minsk and Astana are the right decision and stimulate the performers to solving the set tasks,” Lukashenko noted.

During the extended meeting, Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan and Belarus are close partners who share a close alliance, as well as extensive bilateral and multilateral contacts.

“I am confident this visit will contribute to the development of bilateral relations. Following the talks, we will adopt a joint statement, which will reflect our mutual desire to strengthen friendship, economic cooperation and political ties between our countries. Today, trade and economic cooperation is rapidly developing between us. Among CIS countries, Kazakhstan is in third place in Belarus in terms of trade turnover, despite the fact that that levels have decreased by 10 percent due to the volatility in the world markets. We have positive experiences in industrial cooperation. Today, there are 14 joint ventures, including the production and assembly of mine equipment, combine harvesters, tractors, engines, elevators and other equipment,” Nazarbayev said. Lukashenko noted that Kazakhstan is a reliable friend and ally of Belarus.

“Together we are building a unique formation in our space, the CES. It will create great opportunities for developing the economies of the two countries. It is necessary to take advantage of the CES to strengthen our mutually beneficial relationship. The solution of this problem will promote approval of the road map of bilateral trade and economic cooperation for the coming two years. This is a comprehensive document covering all aspects of interaction,” he said.

Following the talks, the parties signed a joint action plan for 2014-2016 for the implementation of the programme of economic cooperation between the two countries. Lukashenko and Nazarbayev also signed a joint statement in which they confirmed their commitment to continue to closely coordinate their joint efforts to comprehensively deepen and widen Belarusian-Kazakhstan relations.

Upon arrival in Astana on Oct. 3, Lukashenko was met at the airport by the head of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, Vladimir Bozhko.

Immediately after landing in Astana, Lukashenko laid flowers at the Defenders of the Motherland monument in memory of the defenders of the Soviet Union. Nearby is the Alley of Heads of State, where spruce trees planted by presidents of other countries who have visited Astana grow. Lukashenko has a tree there, planted on a visit in May 2005.

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