Russian, Kazakh leaders discuss customs union problems, cooperation

June 10. RIA Novosti. TASHKENT

Russian, Kazakh leaders discuss customs union problems, cooperationRussian President Dmitry Medvedev met on Thursday evening with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev to discuss the Customs Union, preparations for the G20 summit and cooperation in nuclear energy and space.

“We have a common target — to establish a customs union and later a single economic space. Here we have certain achievements, but also some problems,” Medvedev said before the meeting.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are establishing a Customs Union. It was scheduled to be launched on July 1, but Belarus has recently released a list of trade problems with Russia that it says hinder the signing of the final agreement.

The Russian president also said he would discuss Russia’s preparations for the forthcoming G20 summit with his Kazakh counterpart. At G20 meetings, Russia presents the consolidated position of all CIS countries, including Kazakhstan.

Nazarbayev said ahead of the meeting that the two leaders are to discuss a deal on cooperation in nuclear energy and space, which may be signed during the forthcoming summit of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec).

“I would like to speak about the forthcoming Eurasec summit in Astana, we have good agenda for it, including bilateral deals on uranium, nuclear [energy] and Baikonur,” Nazarbayev said.

Russia rents Baikonur, the Soviet-built launching facility in Kazakhstan since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, paying an annual rent of $115 million.

The Kazakh president said he would also like to discuss with Medvedev the ongoing political crisis in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where a new wave of riots broke out on Thursday night.