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Russia's prime minister to take part in Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting in Kazakhstan

September 24, 2013, 14:43 UTC+3

Agenda includes agreement on prevention and suppression of forest and grassland fires in the border areas and Protocol on intergovernmental agreement on gas field development

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MOSCOW, September 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday will arrive in Kazakhstan on a working visit, which will last until September 25.

The Russian Cabinet’s staff reported that on the second day of the visit, along with the heads of the governments of Kazakhstan and Belarus, Medvedev will take part in a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at the prime ministers’ level.

It is planned to discuss the future Eurasian integration development directions, the customs and tariff regulation, industry cooperation and export control.

The Russian prime minister will also hold talks with his Kazakh counterpart Serik Akhmetov. The sides will discuss issues of bilateral relations, the main aspects of cooperation in the spheres of trade and energy, space and nuclear fields, ways to improve cooperation within the framework of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.

Medvedev will also meet with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

According to a Russian government official, during the visit it is planned to sign an intergovernmental agreement on the prevention and suppression of forest and grassland fires in the border areas and the Protocol to the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the development of the Imashevskoye gas condensate field.

Kazakhstan is among Russia’s main foreign trade partners. According to the Federal Customs Service of Russia, in January -July 2013, the volume of bilateral trade increased by 17 percent, compared to the same period in 2012, and amounted to 15.5 billion US dollars. Russia’s exports increased by 11.7 percent (to 9.4 billion dollars) and imports from Kazakhstan - by 26.3 percent (up to 6.1 billion dollars).

Prime Minister of Ukraine Nikolai Azarov also plans to take part in the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, which coordinates the work of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.

It was in Astana on May 29 at a meeting of the heads of the states - members of the Supreme Council of the Eurasian Economic Community (EUrAsEC) that the agreement on Ukraine’s participation in the Customs Union as an observer, was reached. The Customs Union brings together Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Later, the sides signed in Minsk a memorandum on the deepening of cooperation, which formalised the agreement on Ukraine’s getting observer status in the Customs Union.

However, official Kiev has recently made ··a final decision on the country’s development path, giving preference to the course towards integration with the European Union. Azarov promised to allay Russia’s fears that after the establishment of a free trade zone of Ukraine and the EU, European goods under the guise of Ukrainian might be shipped to the Customs Union countries. The authorities of the neighbouring state still insist that Ukraine will be able to effectively cooperate with the Customs Union, despite the associated membership in the EU. Moscow has denied this possibility in every possible way, calling the trade rules of the European alliance incompatible with the operations within the Customs Union.

In addition, in Astana, the Russian and Belarusian prime ministers will meet for the first time, although probably not in private, since the beginning of the so-called potash scandal and the arrest in Minsk of the CEO of the Uralkali company. It was after talks with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich on August 26 that Vladislav Baumgertner, who also heads the supervisory board of Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), was arrested at Minsk airport. The Belarusian Prosecutor-General’s Office accuses him of abuse of power for mercenary motives. The maximum punishment for this offence in Belarus is 10 years’ imprisonment with confiscation of property. Similar charges were brought in absentia against four top managers of BPC, including the largest shareholder of Uralkali, member of the Russian Federation Council Suleiman Kerimov.

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