The event was held via videoconference.
Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin;
Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Hidayat oglu Asadov;
Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Sergei Roumas;
Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin;
Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Ion Chicu;
Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Kokhir Rasulzoda;
Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Chair of the CIS Council of Heads of Government Abdulla Aripov;
Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Mher Grigoryan;
Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Erkin Asrandiyev;
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov;
Chairman of the Executive Committee and Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States Sergei Lebedev.
First of all, I would like to congratulate all of you on the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. I would also like to take advantage of this opportunity to wish a very happy birthday to Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and to Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, who celebrated his birthday just a few days ago, and to also wish them all the very best. Mr Aripov, I would also like to thank you for organising this meeting, which is being held via videoconference because of the coronavirus panpidemic. However, I am quite sure that we will be able to constructively discuss all the current matters on the agenda of the CIS in this format as well, and that we will be able to adopt effective decisions that will further strengthen our collaboration within the CIS.
It is the first time that I am taking part in a meeting of the CIS Heads of Government Council. I believe that the CIS is an extremely important and useful format for the development of multifaceted cooperation in trade, the economy and other sectors too. Without question, it is a priority for us. Collective work within the CIS has produced obvious results and has created a number of advantages for our economies. In 2019, we maintained positive momentum in our trade. But if we want to keep up sustainable economic growth in the future, we must take practical steps aimed at deepening our economic integration.
Our exchange today should focus on cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus infection. Our countries not only share borders, but also the epidemiological space. This is why our joint response measures are based on the best common practices that were developed back in the Soviet period. In general, the coronavirus outbreak has almost stabilised, and we can report a decrease in the number of new cases. This positive trend has allowed some of the Russian regions to gradually lift the restrictions. However, we are doing this with the utmost caution.
Our countries are quickly and efficiently interacting with each other within the framework of the CIS and are taking collective measures against this infection. It can be said that we are monitoring the situation in real time. Our main objective is to identify the illness at an early stage. For this purpose, our countries’ sanitary services are sharing their methods of fighting the infection, as well as tests and testing kits and medical consumables. Russia has sent kits for taking hundreds of thousands of tests to its CIS partners. We will soon dispatch kits for taking another million tests to our foreign partners, the majority of which have been set aside for the CIS.
We have accumulated a wealth of experience in fighting the spread of the coronavirus infection. Our healthcare systems have sufficient capabilities to be able to fight for each life. Nevertheless, the scale of our tasks objectively calls for strengthening our practical interaction in the field of sanitary protection.
With this aim in mind Russia has initiated the drafting of two CIS documents, an agreement on cooperative prevention and response to healthcare emergencies, and regulations on a basic organisation in this sphere. The CIS countries have wholeheartedly supported these documents. I am sure that their signing will create a solid legal framework for our collaboration.
Similar efforts are being taken within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which is completing the drafting of a comprehensive action plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection and other infectious diseases. I am aware that several CIS countries that are not EAEU members have shown interest in collaboration in this sphere.
The coronavirus infection has had a negative effect on the CIS economies. It is logical that we should build up our trade and economic cooperation in this situation.
In order to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, we should redouble our efforts to remove trade barriers and restrictions, ensure an efficient operation of the CIS free trade zone and promote our cooperation in transport. It would be expedient to accelerate the drafting of an agreement on free trade in services, align the integration processes within the CIS and the EAEU, as well as continue to digitalise our economies.
I have no doubt that all the CIS states should reduce their dependence on fluctuations on the global energy markets. A recent plunge of oil prices has affected many sectors of our economies. Strengthening our collaboration in trade and the economy is especially important in this situation.
These objectives have been incorporated in the draft of the CIS Economic Development Strategy up to 2030. It is aimed at strengthening our countries’ economic standing, enhancing the competitiveness of our goods and boosting the development of our industrial sectors and services. But our main goal is to improve the wellbeing of people in the CIS countries. Given the current economic developments, it would be in our long-term common interests to adopt this strategy as soon as possible.
It is obvious that we will be able to overcome the negative economic consequences of the coronavirus much sooner if we work together. We believe that our multilateral collaboration will produce positive results already in the immediate future.
Our priorities include the further improvement of the unified CIS transport system. Today we will be discussing the draft of the Transport Cooperation Guidelines up to 2030. The predominant idea is to effectively use our transit potential, which we will use as the basis for launching new large-scale infrastructure projects in the CIS.
Another vital matter I would like us to address is labour migration. When flights were cancelled [amid the pandemic], many of CIS citizens were stranded in foreign countries. We responded to this problem by allowing them to stay in Russia legally, and we also did everything in our power to help them return to their home countries. Those who cannot do this so far have been issued work permits.
I am sure that our shared positive and, which is very important, pragmatic attitude and readiness to respect each other’s interests will help us deal with even the most challenging problems.