MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a congratulatory telegram to his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on occasion of the 20th anniversary of signing the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State of Russia and Belarus, the Kremlin press service said on Sunday.
"A historic decision on signing this crucial agreement signaled mutual desire to strengthen Russian-Belarusian relations based on the centuries-old traditions of fraternal friendship, cultural and spiritual affinity," the Russian president emphasized in his telegram.
Putin highly appreciates progress reached between the two countries over the past years on the path towards integration and cooperation, the coordination of efforts in security and foreign policy, the intensive development of trade and economic and interregional ties as well as the implementation of innovative scientific and technical programs and large-scale humanitarian projects bankrolled from the Union State’s budget, the telegram says.
The Russian leader also noted in his message that Russians and Belarusians have equal opportunities in choosing the place of residence, jobs and obtaining medical and social assistance.
Putin highlighted the importance of positive experience, which was gained as part of the Union State and was actively used in a broader format of the Eurasian Economic Union, and expressed confidence that the sides would advance mutually beneficial integration processes and bilateral cooperation in all areas.
The presidents of Russia and Belarus signed the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State on December 8, 1999. The document entered into force on January 26, 2000. Russia and Belarus are currently working on a program to boost integration, which includes 31 roadmaps, 20 of which are ready for signing.
On December 7, Putin and Lukashenko held an hours-long meeting in Sochi, which demonstrated that there is fewer number of issues related to integration, which are yet to be ironed out. The two presidents agreed to continue dialogue on December 20.