Constitutional Act Drafted For Russian-Belarus Union

A constitutional act for the Russia-BELARUS Union has been drafted and submitted for consideration of the Supreme State Council and the Union's Cabinet of Ministers, Pavel Borodin, State Secretary of the Union, told a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday. He expressed confidence that the document may be proposed for a referendum and adopted in 2002. According to Borodin, the draft includes nine functions that fall under the remit of the Union. Among them the state secretary named defence policy, protection of common borders, budget formation, property management, and admission of other states to its membership. Borodin emphasised the need for forming a legal framework for the Union. In his opinion, some Russian and Belarus departments "are dragging their feet" on building up the Union. Besides, he noted, some officials are interested in having shadow economics present in economic relations between the two states. Borodin recalled that trade between Russia and Belarus totals 11 billion US dollars.