Russia, Belarus long way off from currency integration

Russia and Belarus are a long way off from a single position on the switchover to the common currency, Pyotr Prokopovich, Chairman of the National Bank of Belarus, said today.

"Currency integration should be the final stage of economic integration. The positions of the National Bank and the government of Belarus and the Central Bank of Russia and the Russian government have not changed significantly. Our hopes that Russia's new Cabinet will adopt an objective approach to these questions, were disappointed. The introduction of the Russian ruble without solving other issues, will not bring the desired effect," he said.

"We suggest that the decision on the introduction of the single ruble be made after all other issues connected with the creation of the single economic space have been solved," Prokopovich said. In his opinion, Russia is not ready to make all these decisions, and the issue stalled.

Initially, the introduction of the ruble as the single Russia-Belarus currency was scheduled for January 1, 2005. However, is was postponed after the two sides failed to agree on other issues of economic cooperation.

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