State Secretary Valery Loshchinin, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, who was staying in Minsk, handed the message to the Belarusian side.
The message stressed that Russia would continue to focus on expanded bilateral integration and that both sides must continue to expand the economic aspects of Russian-Belarusian ties in accordance with the draft and recently signed agreements aimed at establishing common economic, customs and tax space and merging economic mechanisms of both countries. The relevant programmes must be implemented. In connection with this, Vladimir Putin hoped to receive the Belarusian side’s reply to the specific comprehensive Russian proposals on expediting the introduction of the common currency that were submitted to Alexander Lukashenko on August 14, 2002.
The Russian leader said the search for optimal solutions to political problems of the Union State’s development encountered difficulties, because such ambitious measures had never been implemented before. President Putin’s message said the plan stipulated the following options for subsequent bilateral reunification, namely, the complete integration of both countries into one single state, an EU-type supra-state entity, as well as efforts to facilitate reunification on the basis of the Treaty on Establishing the Union State.
Mr Putin proposed establishing a joint group that would thoroughly analyse each integration model and choose the most promising one. The group would be expected to regularly inform the Presidents of Russia and Belarus, as well as the public, on the results of its work. This would make it possible to objectively assess the moods of Russian and Belarusian citizens and reach a consensus on any specific Union State model.
In his message, Mr Putin expressed his confidence that by joining efforts the integration processes would acquire a more active dynamic and Russian-Belarusian rapprochement would significantly move forward.