MOSCOW, September 2. /TASS/. The integration of Russia and Belarus should be viewed not as unification of countries, but as integration of two economies on the basis of equal partnership, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said in an interview with TASS.
"The agreement was signed back in 1999. It has been ratified, and, in fact, it has all the necessary information. Right now we are deciding on terms and concrete areas. There were certain differences between the Russian and the Belarusian side. The working group’s task is to describe all those points of divergence, to put them on paper and to give the supreme political leadership an opportunity to discuss everything and make decisions. This is not a matter of reunification of countries, this is a matter of unifying our economies as equal partners, which is of principal importance," the minister said.
In December 2018, the Russian and Belarusian presidents agreed to set up an intergovernmental working group on the development of integration. Moscow and Minsk are expected to agree on all integration roadmaps by November. In July, the two presidents took part in the forum of Russian and Belarusian regions in St. Petersburg. At their bilateral meeting, they exchanged views on integration, put forward some new initiatives and tasked their governments with working on them.
On August 23, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said that Minsk and Moscow could initial the program of action for integration within the Union State in September. The Belarusian government is expected to submit the draft program to deepen integration with Russia to Lukashenko for approval in the coming days.