Even from the laconic official report about the meeting of Medvedev and Lukashenka on June 11 in the evening it is clear that disagreements between Russia and Belarus remain.
On June 11 Alyaksandr Lukashenka held talks with Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and also visited the All-Russian Electromechanics Research Institute
It is not informed about the results of the negotiations officially. Only the verbatim record of the beginning of the meeting of Lukashenka with Putin is disseminated by the press-service of the government of Russia.
V.V. Putin: Mr. Lukashenka! While you were having supper with Mr. Medvedev, I’ve managed…
A.G. Lukashenka: Supper?! I’ve arrived; I thought you would give me at least a slice of bread…
V.V. Putin: I have swum, visited a gym.
A.G. Lukashenka: I have been swimming too, but before the meeting with Mr. Medvedev. But do not give the runaround, you owe me a supper!
V.V. Putin: Oh come on.
A.G. Lukashenka: Or you do not eat so late, don’t you?
V.V. Putin: I eat at any time of day.
A.G. Lukashenka: I’m joking.
In the beginning of the meeting Dmitry Medvedev offered Lukashenka “to talk about the things that hinder us… and whether we have unmanageable contradictions or they cold be resolved by us”. And what is hindering is: Minsk had offered Moscow to share benefits from export of Russian oil and oil products, which are transported through Belarus to the third countries. As it follows from the draft answer by Vladimir Putin to Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Sidorski received by a Russian business newspaper “Marker”, Russia does not like this idea at all.
The reaction of the Russian Finance Ministry was harsh and unambiguous: the export duty for oil “could not be an item for distribution between the budgets of the sides at all”, but should be received by the Russian treasury in full.
The Ministry of the Economic Development of Russia added caustic remarks. As the agency of Elvira Nabiullina believes, the Belarusians offered Russia in fact “equal approach of economic entities to natural resources”. And the two concrete schemes of taking export duties with the following carve-up between the budgets of Russia and Belarus offered by the Belarusian Prime Minister Sidorski, was simply characterized by the Ministry of the Economic Development as contradicting to the Russian laws.
The Energy Ministry naturally has supported the colleagues.
As “Marker” has found out, right on the next day after Syarhei Sidorski passed his proposals to the Russian government, on April 8, Vice Premiere Igor Sechin received from his Belarusian colleague Vice Premiere Uladzimir Syamashka and an invitation to visit Belarus “for resolving the unsettled issues”. But Belarusians failed to entice Sechin to separate negotiations – Igor Sechin refused to come to Minsk.
Then Putin gave is answer. Though Putin’s answer to Sidorski maintains polite wording, it is hard to get away from a thought that its authors could hardly control their irritation by actions of the Belarusian side.
“As far as you know,’’ the letter reads, “the issues of oil deliveries to Belarus are regulated by the intergovernmental Protocol signed on January 27, 2010 which is in force till December 31, 2010. In this connection we find it excessive to prepare analogous documents in this sphere”.
“The variants that have been offered by you,” the text continues, “do not satisfy the Russian side on the reasons enumerated in the letter of Russian President D. Medvedev March 12, 2010 addressed to Alyaksandr Lukashenka”.
So there is no wonder that the official communiqué on the results of the yesterday’s meeting of Medvedev and Lukashenka is terse and reserved. The agreement between the sides on the issue of oil income is still a long way off.