Russia's major foreign policy priority is to boost integration processes within the CIS, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Wednesday at the St. Petersburg economic forum.
In his words, particular importance should be attached to industrial co-operation between the CIS countries. In this connection, Kasyanov recalled the recent statement of the Russian, Kazakh, Turkmen and Uzbek presidents about extending and developing mutually advantageous co-operation in the gas sector. This decision, the Russian prime minister believes, paves the way for forming a Eurasian gas space, ensuring stability and predictability of the energy market.
The prime minister also recalled the Putin-Kuchma agreement on co-operation in using the main pipes crossing Ukrainian territory. This will make it possible to ensure stability to and protect from risks the European gas and transport system, the prime minister is convinced. Kasyanov said that German companies were parties to the consortium, adding that it was open for other participants.
The head of the Russian cabinet believes that internal borders should be opened and external CIS borders strengthened as part of the developing co-operation.
Kasyanov stressed that integration within the CIS should result in mutual enrichment of ideas, including the ones related to social policy. "Russia should carefully study the experience of its neighbours who are sometimes more advanced than we are," said Kasyanov. He, in particular, pointed out Kazakhstan's achievements in ensuring rapid economic growth and in the housing reform. Besides, the official emphasised the progress of Ukraine's food industry and agriculture. "We should fully employ each other's doubtless achievements and finally integrate by drawing closer our strategies and tenets of economic policy," the Russian prime minister concluded.