Beginning of Meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko 2006-11-10 18:29:18 The Kremlin, Moscow President Vladimir Putin: Dear Alexander Grigoryevich, Let me wish you a warm welcome. I am very happy to see you in the run up to the CIS summit in Minsk. You have scheduled the summit for November 28? President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Yes. Vladimir Putin: I very much wanted to exchange views with you on preparations for the summit and on your assessment of the documents that our experts have drafted. I would like to discuss our bilateral relations with regard to building the Union State and also with regard to economic issues. Our relations are showing good growth and bilateral trade is on the increase, but there are also issues that require close attention, including at presidential level. Thank you for accepting our invitation. I am very happy to see you. Welcome. Alexander Lukashenko: Thank you for the invitation to come here, Vladimir Vladimirovich. You have mentioned very precisely the exact issues that we need to discuss. For our part, we have also prepared for a discussion on issues related to the Commonwealth of Independent States summit and to our bilateral relations, in particular, as concerns steps to be taken within the framework of the Union State. We need to settle the question of the State Council and we need to discuss the issues that are ready for discussion today, above all the Union State’s budget, which is practically ready for next year. Speaking frankly, I would also like to consult with you on a number of international issues facing Belarus today and that we also need to resolve. And then there are our bilateral relations. As you recall, we agreed in Sochi that if our governments do not resolve a number of questions and leave them to us to examine, we would put them together in groups of issues and examine them at presidential level. We now have four or five of these groups of issues that you and I will need to discuss and if not resolve, for some of these matters concern economic issues, then at least provide the impetus for their resolution. So, although we prepared separately for this meeting, we have put together the same agenda. Thank you once again for the invitation. I think that today’s meeting will be very productive.