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    PRESIDENT OF BELARUS SAYS MINSK IS DEVOTED TO INTEGRATION WITH MOSCOW

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    MINSK, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - After ten years, Belarus is still devoted to moving toward friendship, unity and the construction of a Union State with Russia, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said during a meeting with State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov on Wednesday.

    "If the State Duma and Russia in general have gained the impression that Belarus is against the adopted course and that it is trying to hamper the integration processes, this is absolutely incorrect," Mr. Lukashenko said.

    "Belarussians are responsible people and will be able to find a way out of any situation, no matter what may happen in bilateral relations," he continued.

    "This (the completion of the elections in Russia) is also very important for us, because it will be possible to pay more attention to Russo-Belarus problems, which have accumulated in bilateral relations," he said.

    Mr. Gryzlov noted that during the two-day negotiations with the leadership of the Belarus parliament the sides have come to the conclusion that "their points of view on many positions are similar or coincide."

    "The two friendly countries will follow the course toward integration of their relations," Mr. Gryzlov said.

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