Leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan meet in Minsk again after two-day talks in Brest region


Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting in Minsk on Monday, which followed their two-day talks in the Belarusian leader's residence close to the Polish border.

Mr. Nazarbayev traveled directly from Kazakhstan to the Viskuli residence in the Belavezhskaya Pushcha natural reserve in the Brest region, where he was entertained by Mr. Lukashenka on May 12 and 13. The details of the meeting were not immediately available. Mr. Nazarbayev was flown to Minsk on Sunday evening.

Speaking at the meeting in Minsk, Mr. Lukashenka said that Belarus was ready to become Kazakhstan's "Western gates" into Europe. Minsk is interested in joint projects with Kazakhstan in the spheres of industry, power engineering, transport, logistics, innovation, telecommunications, and agriculture, Mr. Lukashenka said.

In addition, he said, Belarus hopes to step up investment cooperation with Kazakhstan. "Hopefully, Kazakh investors will take part in privatization in our country," the government's news agency BelTA quoted him as saying. He added that Belarusian companies sought more active involvement in Kazakhstan's state programs, including those dealing with equipment modernization.

Mr. Lukashenka emphasized the importance of taking advantage of opportunities for closer cooperation offered by the already existing Common Economic Zone and the coming establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union. "That will help bring our relations to a higher, qualitatively new level," he was quoted as saying.

The free movement of goods, services, capital, workforce will make it possible to use the potential of Belarus and Kazakhstan as much as possible, which will secure sustainable economic growth in the two countries, according to Mr. Lukashenka.

He stressed that Minsk and Astana had no differences on political matters. "We have similar views on pressing issues on the international agenda, common approaches to the principles of the development of Eurasian integration. Both states aim in the first place to implement socially-orientated tasks and increase the welfare of our peoples," Mr. Lukashenka was quoted as saying.

The delegation-level talks resulted in a number of agreements, including on the mutual allocation of land plots for the embassies and on cooperation in agriculture.

Agreements were also signed by Belarusian and Kazakh enterprises. //BelaPAN