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    SENATORS TO ASK RUSSIAN PRESIDENT FOR A MEETING

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    MOSCOW, March 2, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - The senators on the Russian-Belarussian parliamentary delegation, are going to ask the Russian president for a meeting, said Aleksandr Torshin, Vice-Speaker of the Russian Federation Council (parliament's upper house).

    "To decide what steps MPs should undertake they must know Russia's strategic course and goal in the process of establishing the Russian-Belarussian Union," said Mr Torshin.

    Mr Torshin chaired a meeting of the senators attached to the Russian parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russian-Belarussian Union, which took place at the Federation Council today, reports the council's press service.

    "The discussion was spirited as the situation is rather serious, among other things, because of inactive parliamentary diplomacy, which is an efficient tool of international politics," said Mr Torshin. MPs agreed to step up efforts to promote rapprochement between the two countries, according to him.

    "Rapprochement of Russia and Belarus is the call of time. If we fail to take appropriate steps promptly, we will feel shame before our children," said Mr Torshin.

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