Working to join Eurasian Union, Silk Road: Putin
June 3, 2015, 2:15 pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Foreign Ministers of the SCO in Moscow, Russia on 3rd June 2015 [PPIO]
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow and Beijing are working on plans for docking China’s ambitious Silk Road project and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.
“We are intensively working on combining these two projects – the economic zone of the Silk Road and cooperation as part of the Eurasian Economic Union, and Russia’s plans to expand its transport network in the east of the country. We are absolutely confident that the implementation of this joint work fully meets our mutual interests,” Putin said on Wednesday in Moscow.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow last month, the two leaders signed a decree on cooperation in tying the development of the Eurasian Economic Union with the “Silk Road” economic project.
“The integration of the Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road projects means reaching a new level of partnership and actually implies a common economic space on the continent,” Putin said.
China has already announced an initial $40 billion Silk Road Fund in November last year.
Putin on Wednesday discussed common approaches to the Central Asian region with SCO Foreign Ministers ahead of the SCO Summit in Russia in July.
The China-Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a regional security bloc.
Both China and Russia have invested heavily in the resource-rich region of Central Asia.
China, Russia and four Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – formed the SCO in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by terrorism and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.
As the US and EU step up pressure on Moscow with threats of new rounds of sanctions, Russia is seeking to strengthen ties with allies in the region, predominantly the BRICS and SCO members.
Observer states at the SCO are Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka have a status of partners in dialogue.
Kremlin spokesperson Yuri Ushakov has indicated last year that India and Pakistan could be granted full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at its next summit in Russia’s Ufa in July 2015.
The next SCO summit will be held in Russia’s city of Ufa on July 9-10, 2015 along with the 7th BRICS Summit.
Russia has taken over presidency of the SCO in September 2014. Moscow has vowed to use its presidency of the SCO to advocate for coordinated steps on the economy, financial sector, energy, and food security.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping said last year that members of the SCO share identical views on economic and political cooperation, including the Ukraine crisis and subsequent sanctions.
“At the meeting in narrow format we discussed some other current international affairs too, including the situation in Ukraine. We are very pleased to see that we share identical or similar views on the main areas of cooperation. This consensus of views is reflected in the Dushanbe Declaration that we are adopting,” said Putin.