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Lukashenka, Putin fail to reach agreement on deeper integration

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Belarusian and Russian delegations in Sochi on 7 December 2019 / Reuters

The Belarus-Russia talks on 'deeper integration' were held on 7 December in Sochi. The talks were taking place in light of street protests in Minsk where up to 1000 people demonstrated against integration with Russia.

The governments of the two countries had spent several months working on the 'integration road maps.' 
Presidents Lukashenka and Putin talked both one-on-one and with the delegations headed by the prime ministers.

At the beginning of the talks, Lukashenka said: "We do not ask for cheap oil and cheap gas. All we need is equal conditions.

After five and a half hours of negotiations, the statement was made that the sides "had neared their positions" on a number of problematic issues. Russian Minister for Economic Development Maksim Oreshkin said 'serious' progress had been made on 'oil and gas.' The governments were tasked to continue negotiations on Monday. The prime ministers will report on the results of their work to the heads of state.

Aliaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin did not come out to have a session with the press. They only exchanged presents and said good-bye. The next meeting of the presidents will take place on 20 December in St Petersburg, according to the statement.

It means that no documents on 'deeper integration' will be signed on 8 December, the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Belarus-Russia Union State.

Russian Minister for Economic Development Maksim Oreshkin is speaking to the press in Sochi on 7 December 2019. Former Russian Ambassador in Minsk Mikhail Babich is in the background / BELTA