Supreme State Council meeting delayed at Minsk's request - Kremlin

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A meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union State has been delayed upon a request from Belarus, the Kremlin said on Monday.
MOSCOW, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - A meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union State has been delayed upon a request from Belarus, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Media reports suggested earlier in the day that the meeting of the Supreme Council had been postponed as the two sides had had disagreements over the future development of the Union State.

The Kremlin said that Belarus had proposed postponing the meeting from December 1 until a later date "so that the two heads of state can meet beforehand. The Russian side does not see any obstacle to organizing such a meeting in the near future."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko last met on October 25 in Moscow. They discussed bilateral ties, energy issues and the global financial crisis.

Before that they met in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the two countries agreed to sign a deal to set up a unified air-defense system at a regular meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union in Moscow this fall.

The Russia-Belarus Union was created in 1997 with the stated goal of reunifying the two former Soviet republics, but progress toward integration has been slow and the union is viewed by many as largely symbolic.

An air-defense agreement would be a major step forward for the bloc, which has largely focused on trade issues and visa agreements and has done little in terms of defense.

At a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on October 6 in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Lukashenko spoke in favor of boosting Russia-Belarus relations, saying that the people of both former Soviet republics were waiting for something concrete in that direction.

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