MINSK, June 4./TASS/. Jumpstarting negotiations on Russia-Belarus integration will play a major role in stabilizing both countries’ economies, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev told a video session devoted to discussing the future of Russia and Belarus after the pandemic.
"I am fully confident that returning to the negotiating table on the integration agenda is one of the most important factors in enhancing mutual competitiveness, the sustainability of economies and shaping joint work on those priorities, including in advanced sectors of the national economies that we cannot do without," Mezentsev said.
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, "integration tasks are more relevant today than they were yesterday," the diplomat stressed. Mezentsev noted that there were expectations that from January 2020 the negotiations would continue "on shaping a common market within the framework of a very close, and in the future single legal framework of the Union State."
However, the countries "were not always able or ready to dovetail national interests with the interests of the Union State’s common market," he noted, pointing out that they were not always ready to act in favor of the future given their current economic tasks, which impeded the talks, he added.
In December 2019, Belarus and Russia marked 20 years since the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State. Minsk and Moscow had planned to adopt a program to deepen integration by that milestone date. However, given the problematic talks on supplies of Russian oil to Belarus, Minsk said that talks on the roadmaps could be continued only when the energy problems had been solved.
Currently, Russia and Belarus are working on the coordination of a package of 31 roadmaps for deeper integration. Some disagreements over oil prices had cropped up in recent months. Furthermore, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko criticized Russia’s decision to close its border amid the pandemic.