Integration of four CIS countries in line with their peoples' will: Putin

The agreement establishing a single economic environment of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine is fully in line with the interests of these nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following the CIS summit in Yalta. The four presidents signed the Single Economic Environment agreement there on Friday.

"I am convinced that by signing this agreement we not only made a professionally correct step, but also fulfilled the will of our nations," Putin said. He added that "even according to the most superficial estimates, over 90% of the Russians support this decision." The Russian leader does not agree with the view that the Single Economic Environment agreement is too general. "It is really a framework agreement to a great extent, but it is a good basis for joint solving our economic problems," Putin believes.

The Russian president criticised "the professional comments on the issue" he said he had read. "There is an impression that those who write them either only thumbed the signed documents or read them having in mind their own interests, not those of their nations," Putin said.

According to him, the documents establishing the Single Economic Environment are necessary and well balanced. "We were moving toward these agreements, realising that the CIS framework did not regard the difference in the member states' integration capabilities," Putin explained.

The Russian president stressed that the documents "pertain solely to the sphere of economic interaction" and are aimed at reducing the infrastructure load on the production, transportation and release of goods manufactured in the CIS member states. Putin believes that if the agreement is be carried out consequently, it will increase the international competitiveness of the four countries' goods, will facilitate the interaction of producers within the CIS and will create "good conditions for our economies' development." Vladimir Putin noted that the Single Economic Environment documents "take into consideration economic and political specialities of the CIS member-states." "For this purpose we decided to implement multi-level integration," he stressed.

Putin stressed that Russia was "satisfied with the quality of these documents and the fact of their signing." He noted that the Ukrainian reservation that the agreement should not contradict the national constitution was in no way negative. "Neither do these documents contradict the Russian constitution, and I believe the constitutions of Belarus and Kazakhstan either."

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