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Tokayev sees no need for Kazakhstan to join Union State of Russia and Belarus

Alexander Lukashenko proposed that Kazakhstan join the Union State

ASTANA, May 29. /TASS/. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Monday said there’s no need for Kazakhstan to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

He was commenting on a recent proposal by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

"Lukashenko proposed that Kazakhstan join the Union State. I duly appreciated his joke. However, I think there’s no need for this because there are other integration associations, primarily the Eurasian Economic Union," Tokayev was quoted as saying in a statement from his office. "As for nuclear weapons, we do not need them because we have joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Tests. We remain committed to the obligations under these international documents."

He said the focus of the Eurasian Economic Union should primarily be placed on economic engagement, integration, and cooperation.

"We must make every effort to create a shared commodity market. Kazakhstani freight carriers should have access to internal railway tariffs on Russian territory in order to transport goods freely and profitably to both the Russian market and the markets of third countries. I reiterate: as part of the EAEU we need to focus primarily on economic integration issues, leaving everything else until later," the Kazakh president said.

The Belarusian president proposed during an appearance on the "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin." the program on May 28 that Kazakhstan join the Union of Belarus and Russia. He said that would mean "there will be nuclear weapons for everyone." That statement followed remarks that the Kazakh president made during the plenary session of the Second Eurasian Economic Forum on May 24 about the fact that the EAEU includes the Union State. He stated that Russian-Belarusian cooperation within the Union State, where "even nuclear weapons are now shared," is different from the level of integration that Russia has with Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.