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Russia, Belarus presidents to co-chair session of the USBR Supreme State Council

December 25, 2013, 1:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 25, 1:14 /ITAR-TASS/. Presidents of Russia and Belarus Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko will co-chair a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State (of Belarus and Russia) (USBR) in the Kremlin here on Wednesday.

Those present at the session "are to consider the basic matters relating to Russia-Belarus intengrational cooperation, and prospects for a further deepening of trade-and-economic and cultural-and-humanitarian contacts," an RF presidential press service official said.

On Tuesday, Lukashenko took part in a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) held in Moscow.

Prior to Wednesday's session, the two leaders will traditionally meet in a narrow format. All political leadership of the two stated have been invited to the USBR State Council session. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Sergei Naryshkin, Speaker of the State Duma lower house of parliament, and Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Federation Council upper house of parliament, will participate in the session on the Russian side.

"The session's agenda comprises items concerning the results of trade-and-economic cooperation between Belarus and Russia in the January-September period of 2013, and forecasts for the end of 2013," RF presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists.

The leaders will also discuss a USBR budget for 2014 and hear a report of the USBR Councl of Ministers on budget performance in 2011 and 2012.

The implementation of the 2012-2013 Programme for Concerted Actions in the field of the USBR foreign policy will be also reviewed at the session. Participants in the session are expected to adopt a new programme intended for the 2014-2015 period.

The State Council will also discuss a plan for commemorative activities in 2014 and 2015 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Byelorussia from fascist invaders.

Ushakov pointed out that, as a result of the session, the leaders of the two states would make a statement for the press, and take part in the signing of a number of documents. These will include intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the field of ensuring international information security, work against corruption, as wells as a programme for technical military cooperation in a period until 2020.

Turnover in trade between Russia and Belarus as a result of 2013 is nearing $40 billion (in 2012, bilateral trade turnover ran at a record-high amount of $43.8 billion). Belarus ranks first in Russia's foreign-trade turnover in trade with CIS countries (33.4 percent) and fifth in the overall pattern of Russia's foreign trade (4.8 percent).

An important role in bilateral contacts is assigned to the fuel-and-energy sector. Belarus is Russia's strategic partner in the field of transit of hydrocarbon fuel to Europe, with 31.3 billion cubic metres of gas, or 21 percent of the overall amount of Russia's gas export being supplied to Europe via Belarus. Gazprom invested 3 billion roubles in modernizing the gas transportation system of Belarus in the outgoing year.

Work is going on to build a Belarusian nuclear power station (BNPS). Russia granted state credits worth $10 billion for these purposes. The first power unit of the BNPS is to be energized in 2018 and the second one in 2020.

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