02:53 GMT +313 December 2018
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    Russian-Belarusian monetary union set for 2006 - Russian diplomat

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    SARATOV, July 19 (RIA Novosti, Erik Batuyev) - A Russian- Belarusian single currency will be introduced in 2006, the Russian Ambassador to Belarus said Tuesday.

    "We will manage to introduce a single currency in 2006, which will be a Russian ruble with a common issuing center in Russia. A constitutional act on the formation of the Russia-Belarus Union State will be our next step," Dmitry Ayatskov said.

    "Despite statements to the contrary, many provisions of the Union Agreement are already being implemented. The war waged against the so-called Lukashenko regime harms Russian-Belarusian economic integration first and foremost," the ambassador said.

    Ayatskov, who used to be governor of the Russian Saratov region, said that his ambassadorial mission was more political than diplomatic.

    "First of all, we must continue economic integration. Last year trade between Russia and Belarus reached over $17 billion and there is more that we can do. The task is difficult but achievable," he said.

    In addition, Ayatskov said issues relating to the freedom of movement of goods and people and the organization of humanitarian and cultural projects also had to be tackled.

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