Russia, Belarus to sign long-term military-technical cooperation program, agreements on information security and corruption prevention
A military-technical cooperation program for the period until 2020 and bilateral agreements in the sphere of information security and corruption prevention will be signed at the meeting of the Supreme Council of the Union of Russia and Belarus in Moscow on Wednesday.
The meeting will be conducted by the presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. All top political leaders of the two countries, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, and the key ministers, will be present there.
Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told reporters Putin and Lukashenko will have a traditional meeting before the session. The meeting between the two presidents and the following meeting between the delegations will focus on the results and prospects of economic cooperation between Russia and Belarus.
According to the Russian authorities, the bilateral commodity turnover is nearing $40 billion in 2013 (against a record $43.8 billion in 2012) and Russia's share in Belarus's commodity turnover exceeds 49 percent.
Sources in Moscow said an important role in bilateral relations is played by the fuel and energy sector. Gazprom's investment in the modernization of Belarus's gas transportation system reached invested 2.25 billion rubles ($68.2 billion) in 2012 and 3 billion rubles ($90.9 billion) in 2013.
Russia and Belarus are also continuing to work on the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, for which Russia is providing a $10 billion state loan. The first unit of the plant is scheduled to be put into operation in 2018 and the second unit will be put into operation in 2020, a Kremlin official said.
Ushakov said there are plans to provide 40 percent of the expenditures of the 2014 budget of the Union of Russia and Belarus for increasing the economic ties. The total budget will reach 4.87 billion rubles ($147.6 billion) (Russia will provide 65 percent and Belarus will provide 35 percent).
Ushakov said the Russian-Belarusian summit will traditionally address humanitarian cooperation, specifically, the plan for celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus from fascists and the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
The meeting's participants are also expected to present a union award in the sphere of literature and arts for 2013-2014 to prominent culture figures of both countries. Days of the Spiritual Culture of Belarus will take place in Russia in 2014.
"Among the issues on the agenda is the work on ensuring equal rights of citizens in the social sphere. We will discuss interaction in the sphere of education, healthcare, pension payments, and taxation," Ushakov said.
Ushakov said the Supreme State Council of the Union of Russia and Belarus intends to consider a whole range of issues in various spheres, specifically, cooperation in the sphere of foreign policy in 2014-2015.
"This program is expected to play an important role in the protection of the two countries' interests on the world scene, coordination of positions in international organizations, and the realization of common approaches to regional and European security issues," he said.