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Kazakhstan says Customs Union with Russia, Belarus due in 2009

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MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - A Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will be completed by the end of 2009, the Kazakh president said on Wednesday.

Nursultan Nazarbayev told his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting in Moscow that relations between the two countries "are at a high level and we [Kazakhstan] are devoted to integration."

"We are currently stepping up work on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. We are doing everything possible to make it happen this year," Nazarbayev said.

In October 2007, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan signed a package of agreements comprising the legal basis of the Customs Union, including the formation of a commission, a common customs zone and the order of membership.

The creation of the Customs Union is being carried out within the framework of the EurAsEC organization, which gathered for a summit on Wednesday in Moscow.

EurAsEC, established in 2000, is an international economic organization comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Three other former Soviet republics, Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine have observer status.

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