Nothing important happened during Minsk summits, political analyst says
The meetings of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and the CIS Council of Heads of State that were held in Minsk on Thursday and Friday have not resulted in anything significant, prominent political analyst Valery Karbalevich told BelaPAN.
It is difficult to imagine how a CIS summit could possibly have any important results, considering that the CIS is not an international organization but a merely platform for meetings and talks, Mr. Karbalevich said. The issues on the summit's agenda were too insignificant to be discussed by presidents, he said.
Mr. Karbalevich described the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council as an intermediate one. The Council discussed issues that should be addressed by the time the Eurasian Economic Union comes into existence, he explained.
It is possible to tell what the presidents discussed only from their occasional remarks, Mr. Karbalevich said. It is clear from statements made by Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Kyrgyz President Nursultan Nazarbayev both during and before the meeting that they are not entirely pleased with Russia's policy, he said. On the one hand, Russia is reluctant to remove trade barriers within the Customs Union, and on the other hand, it wants to establish some supranational political bodies as soon as possible to turn the economic union into a political one, Mr. Karbalevich said.
Mr. Lukashenka clearly indicated during the meetings on Thursday and Friday that he wanted all restrictions on trade in energy resources to be removed, Mr. Karbalevich said. Mr. Lukashenka would like to buy gas at Russia's domestic prices without paying anything to Russia for exporting petroleum products, he said, adding that Russia's reaction was difficult to predict.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov promised the removal of all exceptions from the Customs Union’s free trade regime in 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised genuinely free trade starting 2014, but they have yet to keep their promises, Mr. Karbalevich noted.
As the host, Mr. Lukashenka also wanted to use the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and the CIS summit as a PR coup, Mr. Karbalevich added. "It was necessary to show the Belarusian voters that he is a respected politician of an international level, that the leaders of many countries attend his summits," he said. //