Alexander Lukashenko plays down possibility of monetary union with Russia

Certain conditions must be agreed upon before the Russian rouble is introduced as the sole currency of Belarus. This announcement was made by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on August 28.

As a Rosbalt correspondent was informed by Mr Lukashenko's press office, the president specifically referred to bilateral agreements 'to create a single economic zone with equal conditions for the governments and people of both countries.'

On August 27 Mr Lukashenko played down the possibility of a monetary union with Russia. 'The introduction of a single currency, in this case the Russian currency, effectively means a political union with Russia as well,' said the Belarus president. 'Moreover, if we accept a foreign currency, no matter how the agreement is worded we will basically assume the role of a puppet state. As the president of this country I am afraid of taking this step and will do everything I can to avoid it. As a result we are now holding difficult talks with Russia.'

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