19/7 Tass 356
MOSCOW, July 19 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Vladimir Putin regrets tensions in Russia-Belarus relations and promises to take efforts for their improvement.
“I regret that. We will continue taking efforts in order to prevent tensions,” he told members of religious and public organizations on Tuesday in reply to the concern voiced by Chairman of the Belarusians in Russia Federation Valery Kazakov.
“I am really worried and I can see that problems occur even in the daily life. That is too bad,” Putin said.
Kazakov proposed to form a floor for the Belarusian community to take citizen diplomacy efforts with the goal of the improvement of the bilateral relations.
“Our compatriots worry that some economic and other interstate problems have had an influence on the public. Some politicians in both countries are trying to gain dividends from this situation,” he said.
Other post-Soviet republics are closely watching Russia-Belarus relations, he said. “Other republics are watching the Russian attitude to its ally, Belarus,” he said.
Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday he wanted to develop relations with Russia.
“I reaffirm my adherence to the relations with Russia. You must not think that Belarus is a far-away country alien to you,” he told Amur Governor Oleg Kozhemyako on Tuesday.
The strategy of cooperation with Russian regions has brought good results, Lukashenko said, adding that Belarus was developing similar relations with Ukrainian regions.
A lot has been done for integration in the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, Lukashenko said. “Results are rather good. I am confident that the creation of the common economic space on January 1 will restore the economic unity,” he said.