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    RUSSIAN AND BYELORUSSIAN PRESIDENTS' MEETING SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY - SOURCE

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    MOSCOW, MAY 20 ( RIA Novosti ) - A bilateral meeting between the Presidents of Russia and Byelorussia Vladimir Putin and Aleksander Lukashenko is scheduled for Sunday, May 23, a Kremlin source told RIA Novosti.

    "A preliminary agreement has been reached" - the Agency's interlocutor said.

    According to him, the Presidents are going to discuss the agenda of the forthcoming Union State's Council of Ministers session, due to take place in Moscow on June 8.

    Apart from that, the Kremlin source emphasized, there are a lot of issues concerning the two states' economies.

    "Now we have approached a very important level of integration, a qualitatively new one, involving a lot of economic questions, the creation of a monetary union. The scope of integration tasks has no analogies in the whole CIS space" - the Kremlin official pointed out.

    He characterized the existing problems of union-building as "natural growth problems". "If there were no questions like these, one should have asked, why they did not arise" - the Agency's interlocutor said.

    According to him, it is necessary to build a model of the Union State, which will be both viable and understandable. "We need to divide powers between union and national institutions to avoid situations when decisions by union authorities are not implemented by one or both countries" - the official stressed.

    According to the Kremlin representative, in December Russia submitted the draft Constitutional Act to the Byelorussian side and is now waiting for the latter's answer.

    On April 2, 1997, Boris Yeltsin and Aleksander Lukashenko had signed the Union Treaty between Byelorus and Russia, and on December 5, 1998, in Moscow the two heads of state signed the Declaration on further unification of Russia and Byelorus, the Treaty on citizens' equal rights and the Agreement on the creation of equal conditions for economic agents.

    The intention for a gradual integration of Russia and Byelorussia into a Union State was reflected in the draft Treaty on the creation of a Union State, elaborated in 1999.

    According to the Treaty, each party retains its sovereignty, except for the powers transferred to the Union - covering foreign policy, defence and security, the budget, monetary and tax systems, customs issues, energy systems, transport and communications.

    On December 8, 1999, the Treaty on the creation of the Union State was signed by Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Aleksander Lukashenko. The Treaty came into force on January 26, 2000.

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