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    PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF RUSSIA-BELARUS UNION WILL EXAMINE UNION STATE'S DRAFT BUDGET FOR CURRENT YEAR

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    MOSCOW, March 10 (RIA Novosti) - The draft budget of the Russia-Belarus Union state for 2004 will be submitted for consideration by deputies of the Union state's Parliamentary Assembly. RIA Novosti was informed of this Wednesday by the Parliamentary Assembly's press service.

    The 24th session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russia-Belarus Union will be held on March 16-17 in Minsk.

    As Svetlana Tivanova, chief of the Parliamentary Assembly's press service, told RIA Novosti, the draft budget was examined by the Belarussian side, but it was discussed for a long time by the Russian finance ministry and economic development and trade ministry.

    The draft budget set revenues at 2,621.1 million Russian rubles (with one dollar being roughly equivalent to 29 rubles). Contributions of the member-states will equal 2,462 million rubles, and payments received for the use of earlier granted budget credits will amount to 188.1 million rubles.

    Svetlana Tivanova also said that the 24th session should take a decision on the chairman and deputies of the chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly. In her words, one of the candidates for the post of chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly is State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov. "If he is elected, this will benefit both sides," she added.

    The session participants will also discuss organizational issues, including changes in the composition of the Parliamentary Assembly's mandate, editorial and auditing commissions.

    In addition, parliamentarians will discuss the development of the Union state and the report of the Union state's Council of Ministers on the implementation of the Union budget in the first half of 2003.

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