Belarus supports Russia at international fora; the difference in the energy pricing retained
On the occasion of the visit of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, Belarus and Russia exchanged friendly statements, however, economic cooperation has somewhat reduced and this trend is unlikely to make a U-turn.
On November 21st, 2018, the Belarusian and Russian Foreign Ministry collegium held a usual meeting, following which the foreign ministers made statements in support for each other. Lavrov expressed concerns about the growth in NATO’s military activity in Europe, Russophobia, the U.S. intention to leave the INF Treaty, and plans to create a UN body to verify compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons. In turn, Makei assured that Belarus consistently supported Russia at international arenas.
Makei expressed hopes that in December the agreement on the mutual recognition of visas might be signed. Meanwhile, according to him, the issue of border controls at the Belarusian-Russian border for citizens and legal entities of Belarus and Russia to ensure unimpeded traffic in people and goods yet had not been coordinated. Hence, the agreement is unlikely to be enforced even if it is signed.
At the meeting with Lavrov, Lukashenka once again expressed his concern about unequal economic conditions, referring to the unresolved issue with the compensation for the tax manoeuvre in the oil industry in Russia and the barriers for the import of Belarusian goods to Russia: Rosselkhoznadzor again restricted the supply of products from four Belarusian meat processing enterprises. As for the tax manoeuvre compensation, Russia would prefer a direct budget transfer. Belarus chose to retain low oil prices, while Russia would rather ‘treat’ Belarusian refineries as Russian ones and pay compensation directly to them on an equal footing with those in Russia.