EAEU Elects Kazakhstan 2016 Chair During Moscow Heads of State Meeting

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in Moscow Dec. 21.

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From left, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev, Chairman of EEC Viktor Khristenko

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Almazbek Atambayev of Kyrgyzstan, Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan and Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Viktor Khristenko also attended.

The participants discussed the EAEU’s functioning and organisational issues.

Nazarbayev thanked Belarus and Lukashenko for their 2015 EAEU presidency. He also said the EAEU’s work is valuable and can help member states develop.

“Due to the instability of the global economic environment, we realise that 2016 will be difficult and we will have to work under special conditions. Kazakhstan will make all efforts for further dynamic development of our integration association. During ourpresidency, we will work actively to deepen contacts with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which will expand our capabilities and strengthen the EAEU,” he said.

The sides discussed joint strategy under the new free trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union that will begin Jan. 1, 2016. They also decided to begin the electronic declaration of goods transported within the EAEU in 2016.

The heads of state also approved the 2016 EAEU budget, new EEC board members and the members’ responsibilities. They also amended the programme of gradual liberalisation of transportation within the union and choose Kazakhstan to chair all organs of the union in 2016, except the board of the commission.

President Nazarbayev also met with President Putin and noted the difficulties the EAEU faced during its first year.

“The crisis was expected, therefore, weundertook the necessary measures to overcome it. Now we must move on. Obviously, the GDP of our countries and trade turnover declined. However, open borders and close ties play a positive role,” he said.

In turn, Putin highlighted the ongoing development of the strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and Russia despite theglobal economy crisis.

“We continue work on bringing our customs and technical regulations to the same standards. All of these efforts givea positive effect. I am sure thatwithout existing agreements,our economies would have been affected much stronger,” Putin said.

In addition, Nazarbayev met with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and was awarded the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh of the first class.

Nazarbayev thanked the Russian Orthodox Church for its high evaluation of Kazakhstan’s policy to strengthen interreligious accord.

Nazarbayev and Head of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (PFUR) Vladimir Filippov also discussed cooperation between the leading universities of Kazakhstan and Russia and the potential for general educational cooperation, noting that more than 500 students from Kazakhstan study at the PFUR.

Earlier in the day, Nazarbayev took part in a meeting of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Sargsyan, Lukashenko, Putin, Atambayev and Rahmon also attended.

The discussion focused on strengthening regional security and stability, as well as combating international terrorism.

The participants also adopted organisational documents, including a declaration by heads of CSTO member states on countering international terrorism.