President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Colleagues, Mr Putin, Mr Lukashenko,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Astana. Thank you for accepting my invitation to hold this informal, friendly and trust-based meeting at this difficult time.
I think we should discuss the current situation in the world in the light of the crisis we are traversing at this time. The 2007–2008 economic crisis was a global occurrence that began in the United States.
The current crisis, which is regional and global in dimension, is the result of a drop in prices for our energy resources and goods. As a result of this situation, the Eurasian Union’s trade also decreased in 2014.
We always understood and assumed that such risks exist, and our task now is to reach agreements and for our governments to discuss all of these matters in a businesslike fashion.
I think that 2015 will also present major risks and challenges for the Eurasian Economic Union. We will discuss this with the other member countries and will talk about trade between our countries, as well as our plans for this year.
Of course, we also want to exchange views on the Ukrainian crisis, which has led to the imposition of sanctions and obviously has a particular impact on Russia and thus, by repercussion, on our countries, too. We will exchange views and agree on subsequent meetings.
Kazakhstan currently holds the CIS presidency and Belarus holds the Eurasian Economic Union presidency. The CIS heads of state will meet this autumn here in Kazakhstan, and on May 9, we will meet in Moscow for the 70th anniversary of Victory.
In other words, we have plenty of bilateral and multilateral meetings ahead. We all agree that in addition to the official events and meetings, we also need to be active and flexible in getting together to discuss matters and see where we stand.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: It only remains for me to thank you for your invitation.
You have just outlined all of the items on our agenda. We began the discussion with you at the meeting this morning, and so I simply want to agree with everything you just said and thank you for giving us this opportunity to go over all of these issues together.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Nazarbayev, I also want to thank you for this opportunity to come to Astana and want to add my agreement to what the Russian President said just now.
As you were so right in saying, we are going through times that make us confront one challenge or another every year. We face challenges today too, but we also have the economic union that we have built. Events will yet show that the decision to establish this economic union was a timely initiative.
This union is not just a declaration. We have approved a huge number of documents and made this union formal, signing a number of agreements. Now, acting within this union, we need to respond to the challenges at hand.
There is no point in hiding that at the union’s core are the people and nations that built it and have invested much in its creation. But at the same time, we must also not forget that we have other member countries too, and the union’s initial founders must offer them development scenarios for the future.
As we approach the 70th anniversary of Victory, it is clear that we should all be together. We face too many challenges today, even with regard to history. The Russian President has addressed this issue a lot over recent days, noting the serious challenges we face, including attempts to not simply rewrite but even deny our common history. Therefore, we must demonstrate our unity both politically and economically now, as we prepare to celebrate the 70th anniversary of victory.