Russia calls for integrating trade blocs into ‘Big Eurasian Partnership’

Moscow, Oct 13 (IANS) Russia has called for integrating the silk road concept, the Asean and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) into a big Eurasian partnership, subsuming most blocs in Asia and Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an email interview that work on integrating the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Silk Road Economic Belt should be integrated. “This process could eventually provide a basis for the Big Eurasian Partnership that would involve a wide range of states of the EEU, the SCO and Asean,” Putin said in response to a joint questionnaire sent by IANS and Russian news agency Sputnik.

Putin, who was responding to questions ahead of the five-nation BRICS meeting in Goa this weekend, has been a votary of a broad-based EEU to bring together nations in Europe and Asia in a wide-arching economic union. The SCO has China, Russia, India, Pakistan and some other countries as members. Asean is a trade organisation of several countries in Asia. The Silk Road concept (lately subsumed in One-Road-One-Belt initiative) is China’s initiative to link with Europe along the ancient Silk Route.

“We expect that such partnership will be open for accession by all countries concerned and will build on the principles of transparency and mutual respect,” Putin said.

He said the global economic and financial situation remained difficult, with the consequences of the global financial crisis still persisting. “It is therefore regrettable that certain countries seek to solve the problems that have built up by introducing protectionist measures and trying to engage in restricted non-transparent projects, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”

He said, Russia, just like all its BRICS partners, remained committed to shaping open non-discriminatory economic areas based on the World Trade Organisation principles.

The Russian president said that cooperation potential of BRICS may also be used to implement this wider Eurasian partnership initiative. “We look forward to the support from India, which is earnestly interested in this proposal,” he said. He also expected the topic to be discussed at the BRICS and BIMSTEC heads of state meeting in Goa.



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