The bilateral meeting continued with talks over a working dinner.
Beginning of talks with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Putin, as I just said, we greatly value your visit during these days of celebration. Those were very difficult times of course, but after all the trials this was such a hoped-for victory. It was our common victory, and your presence here at these celebrations is indeed symbolic, as friends and critics alike have said. Your presence here is symbolic in that it stands for our unity and shows that just as we were together then, so we will always be together. As I already said when some individuals pestered me on the issue, I told them, “Don’t worry, if need be, we will stand back to back and defend ourselves, fight together just as we fought together then.”
And so I thank you for coming as you promised. I thank you for the help and support that you are giving our country and economy. We remember this and we know that Russia and Belarus are both slowly pulling their way back up out of the global crisis. We will stand firm on our feet and will become economically even stronger.
Thank you, Mr Putin.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you for the invitation, Mr Lukashenko. Once more, I congratulate you on the 70th anniversary of the liberation from Nazi occupation. I congratulate all of Belarus, and I congratulate you as the head of state, and the entire Belarusian people.
We already recalled today the immense sacrifices that the Belarusian people laid on the altar of victory. We recalled how much was done after the Great Patriotic War to rebuild the republic, and we see what a beautiful and joyful city Minsk is today.
As for our cooperation, certainly, as you noted, we will continue to unite our efforts. I am sure that the difficulties we have been going through are linked not just to developments in our own economies but also to processes in the global economy. We know that all of these things are transitory. But our joint efforts in economic integration are already bearing fruit and will bring even bigger results in the future. We will not simply increase the size of our economy but will also transform its quality.
The Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union will take effect soon, in just six months’ time. This will definitely be another step towards uniting the efforts of our peoples and countries on the good and positive foundation that we inherited from the past, this foundation that was built by the hands – and with the shed blood too, if we consider the war years – of our forebears, our fathers and grandfathers.