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    RUSSIA-BELARUS UNION OFFICIAL CRITICISES UNION'S LAWS

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    MOSCOW, April 1, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian nationals are not treated equally to Belarussians in Belarus and vice versa, Sergei Shukhno, Deputy State Secretary of the Russian-Belarussian Union, said on Thursday at a scientific-cum-practical conference, "The Role of Belarus' Public Organisations in the Integration Processes." Mr Shukhno pointed to the Union's inefficient laws as a reason behind the situation.

    "The equal rights (of Russian and Belarussian nationals) are stipulated in a draft constitutional act, while all relative agreements are framework agreements," said Mr Shukhno.

    The main problem is that Belarussian nationals are treated as foreigners in Russia and vice versa, according to Mr Shukhno.

    "This does not allow them to exercise equal rights throughout the Union, particularly the right to the freedom of movement, to the choice of residence, healthcare, pensions and employment," said Mr Shukhno.

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