Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk reveals treaty problems
President Alexander Lukashenko, speaking at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council summit in Minsk has questioned the direction of the draft treaty and whether it is necessary to sign the documentation at the end of May as planned.
The Belarussian Telegraph Agency (BELTA) quotes the President as saying “The union itself should acquire bigger integrity from its expansion,” and he goes on to say “No one pushes us. We set the time schedule ourselves. But I think that we should not turn it into the process for the sake of the process.”
The Belarussian President also called upon Eurasian Economic Commission Chairman Viktor Khristenko to ensure that the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty should be more about economy than politics. BELTA quotes President Lukashenko as saying “I would like to know what headway we have made, what the document is more about – politics or economy. I would like the latter.”
The statement came after meetings revealed that there were a number of outstanding issues between the three founding members of the Customs Union, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russian Federation. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is accredited with coming up with the idea of a Customs Union in the 1990s said that the problems could be resolved and that there was no need for delays.
Russia’s state controlled Voice of Russia reports Eurasian Economic Commission Chairman Viktor Khristenko as saying that “The presidents have ordered that all nuances of the treaty be worked on in the near future so that the document could be presented for signature at a Supreme Eurasian Economic Council summit in Astana at the end of May”.
BELTA also quotes Khristenko as saying that “By 2025 the issues related to cooperation in the area of oil, oil products and gas will be settled in line with the current agreements signed in 2010 and in correspondence with the additional bilateral agreements that will be signed to secure a cooperation status satisfying all the parties for the whole period of the common market development.”
The new Customs Union treaty is due to be signed at the end of May and should bring together a market of 167 million people across the three countries with other countries including Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan having expressed interest in joining.