RUSSIAN PREMIER SATISFIED WITH PACE OF ESTABLISHING UNION OF RUSSIA AND BELARUS

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MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov is satisfied with the pace of establishing the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

"In Russian-Belorussian relations on establishing the Union State we find solutions to many issues, not everything is satisfactory in terms of the result, but the pace of establishing the Union State are encouraging", said the premier opening a session of the Russian and Belorussian Council of Ministers in the Russian Government's House.

"We have an explicate program supervised by the government, and we may state some positive results and the fact that we are going in the right direction", stressed Mr. Fradkov.

At the same time, according to him, he plans to discuss at the session of the Council of Ministers the issues "requiring additional impulse for settling common problems".

We have a considerable agenda touching upon the issues of both integration and mutual cooperation, said the Russian premier.

Mr. Fradkov said that this year the volume of trade between Russia and Belarus could top $15 billion.

"This year we can outstep the ceiling of 15 billion. It is a very important factor of Russian-Belorussian integration", said Mr. Fradkov. According to him, currently the Russian-Belorussian relations are at a very critical phase of development.

Mr. Fradkov pointed out that following the previous session of the Union State's Council of Ministers (in summer this year) important developments had taken place including the meetings of the heads of the two states and the signing of an important agreement on charging indirect taxes from export/import of goods, rendering services and performing works.

According to Mr. Fradkov, the session of the Council of Ministers will have to cover 20 issues starting from establishing the Union State and to shaping a common humanitarian, economic and customs space. "People expect us not to issue declarations but to do specific work towards development of the relations and improvement of living standards in our countries", said the head of the Russian government.

Belarus' Prime Minister Sergei Sidorski pointed out the convergence of the Russian and Belorussian positions on the key issues.

"This year the development of the integration processes is gaining momentum, the positions on the key issues of the integration are getting closer", said the premier.

He also noted that a subject to discussion at the session would be fulfilment of the action plan on ensuring equal rights of Russia and Belarus' citizens and the issue of tariffs settlement.

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