Duma deputy speaker appeals for restoration of ties between Russia and Belarus

The restoration of warm relations between Russia and Belarus should becomethe result of a visit by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to Russia.State Duma Deputy Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky voiced this opinion at anews conference in Moscow today. According to him, "the phrases voiced bythe Kremlin some time ago were not quite correctly understood in Minsk, andit is now necessary to begin the formation of a union of Slav republics."Zhirinovsky pointed out in this connection that the restoration of theunion of Russia and Belarus should become a priority for Russia, sinceaccording to him, "Belarus is the closest and the most useful partner ofRussia." In Zhirinovsky's opinion, Ukraine should join this union later,followed by "some other former republics of the USSR." The deputy speakerbelieves that it is now necessary "to expedite the formation of theeconomic union of the two countries, and then to create a common legal zoneand to shift to the establishment of a single state.".

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