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Belarusian foreign minister: Ukraine will benefit much from joining Customs Union

April 01, 2014, 22:43 UTC+3 MINSK
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MINSK, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. The choice of foreign policy priorities is Ukraine’s domestic affair but its joining the Customs Union [of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan] would have obvious advantages for its economy, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey said in an interview published on the official website of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

“Accession to the Customs Union would bring unquestioned economic benefits to Ukrainian partners, such as additional conditions for trade growth, closer investment and innovation cooperation,” he said. “Membership in the Common Economic Space in no way restricts the right of its members to conduct a multi-vector policy and expand cooperation with other countries.”

The expansion of the Customs Union “is not an end in itself, it completely depends on the sovereign choice of its possible member countries,” he stressed. “We believe that it is up to the Ukrainian people to choose the integration vector of development. Whatever this choice might be, we shall continue to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with Ukraine in all areas of mutual interest.”

The Belarusian foreign minister also emphasized that his country hailed the interest foreign countries were demonstrating to the Customs Union. “We think it only logical, since it is one of the world’s biggest regional integration associations with a population of 170 million,” he noted. “The Customs Union’s expansion is in the interests of all its member countries, and Belarus has repeatedly stressed that the doors to this integration association are opened for our partners who share its goals and who are ready to join the legal framework of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.

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