Lukashenko confirms Minsk's readiness for compromises in creation of common economic territory

Minsk is ready for a compromise looking for constructive approaches in creating a common economic space involving Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Belarussian President Vladimir Lukashenko has stated.

"By the beginning of September you must give an answer whether or not we are able to create a common economic space," Mr. Lukashenko said, when addressing participants of the High Level Group meeting, held in Minsk on Friday. The High Level Group is comprised of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.

At a meeting with the four countries' vice-premiers participating in the event, the Belarussian leader stressed that the Regional Integration Organisation created in the "quartet" framework must not become "another inefficient organisation." According to Lukashenko's estimates, the four countries have both principle disagreements which are hard to settle and conceptual ones." He said that the latter included creation of a free trade zone and the countries' joining the World Trade Organisation /WTO/. "We also have conceptual disagreements in understanding not only processes but also the idea of a common economic space and free-trade zone," Lukashenko added.

However, the Belarussian president is convinced that the creation of a common economic territory is in line with interests and demands of all the four states.

When touching upon the work of the High Level Group, Mr. Lukashenko said there were some achievements. "You have thoroughly considered problems of the four countries' integration and there is progress in understanding the objective determined by the heads of state," the Belarussian president stated.

On Friday in Minsk the High Level Group discussed development of the concept and draft agreement on a common economic territory and analysed possible disagreements in enclosures on goods and services at negotiations on joining the WTO. At the meeting the Russian delegation was headed by Russian Vice-Premier Viktor Khristenko.

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