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Belarus to preside over CIS in 2013

ASHGABAT, 5 December (BelTA) – Belarus has been officially declared the country to preside over the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2013. The relevant decision was made at the session of the CIS Heads of State Council in Ashgabat on 5 December, BelTA has learned.

Opening an expanded participation session of the CIS Heads of State Council, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that the private session of the Council had made the decision that Belarus will take over the CIS presidency as from 1 January 2013.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko remarked that the Commonwealth is a priority vector in the foreign policy of the CIS member states. “This is why Belarus’ presidency will follow the motto ‘Integration for the benefit of individuals: Better good neighborhood policy, promotion of environmental cooperation, expansion of the dialogue between cultures’,” said the President of Belarus. He also remarked the year 2013 had been declared the Year of Ecological Awareness and Environmental Protection in the CIS. “We will take into account interests of all the member states of the Commonwealth,” stressed Alexander Lukashenko.

Alexander Lukashenko also mentioned the areas that the Belarusian side would like to focus efforts on in 2013. They include the development of the common information space, the enhancement of intercultural and interethnic interaction, the expansion of contacts at the level of scientific and creative intelligentsia, veteran and youth organizations, the implementation of projects relevant for ecological awareness and environmental protection. “The topic was particularly actualized by Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, who invited the heads of state to the Chernobyl site, where a unique structure – a shelter for the reactor where the catastrophe happened – is being built,” remarked the President of Belarus.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, by the end of 2012 the Belarusian side will present a concept of Belarus’ presidency and the action plan to implement it. “I hope for your support and readiness to work together to make the Commonwealth of Independent States stronger for the benefit of our nations,” added the head of state.

he President of Belarus also thanked the Turkmenian side and President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov personally for the work done during the CIS presidency and the warm welcome in Ashgabat. “This year the magnificent Turkmenian capital has hosted not only official sessions of CIS bodies but several scientific, creative, sport events and other ones. They have helped enhance the traditionally friendly ties between the peoples of our countries,” said the Belarusian head of state.