MINSK, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - The public in Russia and Belarus certainly believe in their union and its vast opportunities. To implement the huge potential, the two countries are to verify and coordinate their stances so as to promote integration, Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said to the union Council of Ministers as it gathered for session in the Belarussian capital today.

Bilateral integration and union progress dominate the session agenda, he said. He was looking forward to fruitful work for those purposes. Of the matters for debate, the Premier highlighted joint action to introduce united currency and unify customs tariffs-tasks vital for the emergent union.

He also stressed the importance of issues related to the union budget, and a Russo-Belarussian defense and security alliance.

Mr. Fradkov mentioned to the gathering his dynamic talks, earlier on the day, with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky. They discussed bilateral economic contacts. Some of the issues were to come up on the ministerial agenda, too. Discussions were fruitful, so he hoped for efficient teamwork, added Russia's Premier.

Russia will be charging $46.68 a thousand cubic meters for its natural gas exports to Belarus this year, he announced after the two countries signed an agreement on gas exports and on this year's tariff rates for Russian gas transits via Belarus--$0.75 per thousand cu m/100 km.

Union efforts will make headway now that an agreement has been signed on Russian gas supplies to Belarus. Head gas companies-Gazprom for Russia and Beltransgaz for Belarus-signed a contract on the amount and terms of Belarussian gas imports from Russia, and of Russian gas transits via Belarus. The contract put an end to an entangled dispute between the two countries.

The gas agreement crowned long and painstaking work. The two countries have met each other halfway to promote each other's interests, and make progress on the union cause, said Mikhail Fradkov.

Sergei Sidorsky, his Belarussian counterpart, described his visit to Minsk as a landmark. Of special importance was the reason-a union government session, on which Russia's new Premier was paying his maiden visit to Belarus, he said.

This morning saw the two governmental delegations do a big job, which reflects flourishing trade and other dynamic economic ties. The bilateral trade turnover increased by five billion US dollars within the year's initial four months, and Mr. Sidorsky hopes it will hit a $15 billion mark by the year's end. The two countries ought to make the effort to reward their Presidents and Cabinets for activity.

Sergei Sidorsky is sure the ministerial session will make another stride toward the Russo-Belarussian union.

All issues on today's agenda have been duly coordinated, and Mikhail Fradkov approved them as head of the union government, he added.

Russia and Belarus have signed an intergovernmental agreement on joint exploitation of petroleum mainlines crossing Belarus; and a protocol on the Russian holding right of the Belarussian infrastructural complex, Zapad/Transnefteprodukt, and related electric communication companies.

Viktor Khristenko, Russia's Industry and Energy Minister, and Vladimir Semashko, Belarussian First Deputy Prime Minister, signed the documents after the Council of Ministers session.

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