Later today, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko will take part in a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
* * *
Beginning of meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Putin, Mr Medvedev, friends,
As per tradition, I would like to welcome you to Belarus, which is not a foreign state for you. Frankly speaking, I have been truly looking forward to this visit. Mr Putin has always told me that if the President leaves, the Prime Minister stays behind to keep an eye on things; and if Mr Medvedev has to leave, the President remains in Moscow. However today you are both in Minsk and I am grateful to you for this.
I have just told Mr President that we had agreed to prepare this meeting of the Supreme State Council properly and we did everything necessary at the preparatory stage. Mr Putin and I had three telephone conversations to discuss different matters, and we met twice, our latest meeting being in Sochi. Our Prime Ministers were in constant contact and I informed you about it.
We have carefully studied all the issues and prepared everything, and generally, this meeting of the Supreme State Council is the culmination of our efforts. It will be quick and efficient because we have gone through all the issues in detail.
Thank you for your help and support. We have a number of matters of an informational nature – Mr President and I have also touched upon them just now, and Mr Putin promised to tell me about some things because we need to be aware of certain international issues. In a word, we are prepared for the Supreme State Council.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko, colleagues, friends, we are very happy to be here in Belarus. It is true that our teams have done excellent work.
We know the world we are living in, what is going on in the global economy and in ours as well. Quite a few issues require our attention at the highest level. However, I would like to note that overall, none of the processes that started 20 years ago, I mean the launch of the Union State, have lost their value. On the contrary, this integrational project is developing successfully and is undoubtedly becoming a driver of integration on the entire post-Soviet space.
Mr Lukashenko, you were there at the very start of this process. I would like to thank you for this, because it was thanks to you and Boris Yeltsin that the process was launched, and, I repeat, we are now able to make new steps in developing our special relationship. I am certain that our work today will serve as an impetus for this positive process that is of such importance for our countries and peoples.