Vladimir Putin On Introduction Of A Free Trade Zone In CIS

Vladimir Putin wants a free trade zone to be introduced in the CIS. The Russian side intends to take into account its national interests while setting up the free trade zone, stressed the Russian president at the press conference that followed the meeting of CIS leaders. In his opinion, any kind of integration should be based on solution of economic problems. At present, the Commonwealth is engaged in an intensive dialogue on the subject, said Putin, adding that the sides have already coordinated all issues related to the introduction of a free trade zone. However, the problem remains unsettled as far as Tajikistan, Ukraine and Belarus are concerned, but it hopefully will be settled in the near future, he noted. On his part, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma observed that today, CIS countries "are as close as can be to the solution of this problem. According to his words, there will be a document "stipulating certain withdrawals" but "not canceling the principle of free trade."