Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine to agree on common economic space

Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Belarussian experts are expected to meet in Kiev today to approve the texts of documents laying the basis of the four nations' common economic space. The documents at issue are a relevant intergovernmental agreement, the concept of the common economic space and the plan of actions. The drafts of these documents co-ordinated by experts will be discussed by a quadrilateral high-level group to meet on August 15-16 in the Kazakh capital Astana and will subsequently be considered by the presidents of the four countries.

In late February, the leaders of the four former Soviet republics announced their intention to form the common economic space in three stages before this September, as the co-ordinated plan has it. At the first stage, a common tariff system is to be introduced to become the basis for a single customs union. At the last stage, a single currency is to be introduced into circulation.

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said last Friday he linked major difficulties on the road to the common economic space, to Ukraine's specific position. In his opinion, Ukraine is ready to form a common trade zone rather than a common economic space. In May, Ukraine's parliament supported plans for economic integration of the four countries.

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