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    MOSCOW, January 27, 2004 (RIA Novosti) -- Spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko has said in an interview with RIA Novosti that the visit of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Minsk on February 2 is designed to consolidate Russian-Belarussian co-operation.

    Yakovenko recalled that the third joint meeting of the Russian and Belarussian foreign ministry boards would be held in Minsk as part of Ivanov's visit.

    According to him, the meeting will consider the two countries' interaction with the enlarging European Union and possible joint moves. "The economic aspects of the above-said problems and their Kaliningrad component will be in the focus of attention", Yakovenko noted (the Kaliningrad Region is a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea).

    A programme of joint actions within the foreign policy of the Russia-Belarus Union State for 2004-2005 will be adopted upon the end of the meeting, and a plan of bilateral consultations between the Foreign Ministries in 2004 will be signed.

    "The foreign ministries have been actively working to form a common economic space of Russia and Belarus, to continue their currency integration, and to co-ordinate the Union State's political structure and the legal system", Yakovenko noted. "The co-ordinating role of the foreign policy departments in these processes has become a weighty positive factor".

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