MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Russia aims to step up mutually beneficial cooperation with CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
“We aim to step up mutually beneficial cooperation with CIS countries in various formats,” he told participants in an annual scientific and educational program of the Gorchakov foundation “Dialogue for the Future: Russia and the World Around.”
The Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will begin working from January 1, 2015, and Kyrgyzstan is planning to join. The union is open for other neighbors and partners, Lavrov said.
Russia views the project as part of processes in Europe where integration is based first of all on structures of the EU and the Asia-Pacific region, which has become a locomotive of the world’s economic development and has many promising integration and other associations, he said.
“As the first step to harmonize such processes, we have proposed to begin a dialogue to create a free trade zone between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union,” the minister said.
“The proposal was made by the Russian president already in January 2014 in Brussels during a meeting with EU leaders,” the minister added.