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City news, 27.01.2006 15:10

Russian, Belarus presidents met in St. Petersburg

integration_belarus President Vladimir Putin and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday discussed ways to add substance to the ambitious Russia-Belarus Union between their two countries.

"Citizens of our nations are expecting a continuous expansion of Russian-Belarussian integration," Putin said at the start of his talks with Lukashenko in St. Petersburg.

The idea of the state initially emerged in 1997 to foster political and economic integration, in particular by standardizing taxes and tariffs, but has largely remained on paper. Belarus was to have adopted the Russian ruble as a single currency for the state in 2005, but the move has been postponed.

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