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Naryshkin: Belarus’ membership in EEU makes it equal, efficient partner of EU

MINSK, 26 June (BelTA) - Belarus' membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) not only reinforces its European orientation but also makes it, along with Russia and Kazakhstan, an equal and efficient partner of the European Union, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Sergei Naryshkin said speaking before students and the faculty of the Academy of Public Administration under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Belarus.

Sergei Naryshkin stressed that the EU brings together energy-poor countries and is vitally interested in combining its resources and finance with natural resources and fundamental science of the Eurasian Economic Union. He noted, however, that there is a dichotomy between the Eurasian and European integration, and this is the reason why some countries think that their joining the Customs Union and the EEU will raise doubts about their European orientation. “Politicians use this to justify non-participation in these beneficial integration projects,” Sergei Naryshkin said.

The Chairman of the State Duma also said that during Russia’s WTO talks, Russian negotiators took account of the interests of Russia’s partners in the Customs Union. “When creating the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space, the three countries were guided by the WTO rules. The creation of these integration associations is not contrary to the principles of the WTO,” he said. Sergei Naryshkin pointed out that the WTO membership has some downside, but strategically it means increased opportunities and markets, more responsible motivation of enterprises to operate in a competitive environment.

In his opinion, WTO accession of Russia, and then of Belarus, and Kazakhstan will not hamper the Eurasian integration. Sergei Naryshkin considers it important that common interests should be promoted during the negotiations.

“Our nations have common roots. We share common history. Two remarkable dates which the Belarusian and Russian people celebrate this year testify to the fact. These are the 1150th anniversary of the founding of the Old Russian State that modern Belarus was part of and the 200th anniversary of the victory in the 1812 War in which Belarus made a great contribution to by bearing the burnt of the Napoleon’s occupation and being the scene of major battles including the defeat of the French army on the Berezina River,” the Russian official said. According to Sergei Naryshkin, the two countries are marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, and this is a bright example of how close the Russian-Belarusian ties are. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belarus in May 2012 also show that Belarus is the priority in the Russian foreign policy.

Cooperation between the two countries has reached a high level and continues developing in every area, Sergei Naryshkin said.