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Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan eye further economic integration


09:56, December 20, 2011

MOSCOW, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Leaders from Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on Monday pledged to continue their nations' integration within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed two treaties on customs duties and prevention of money laundering during a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, the top body of the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union..

The leaders also appointed Viktor Khristenko, Russia's Industry and Trade minister, as head of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).

"We have just formed our first supranational body (of the EEU), which will promote integration. We have formed our Eurasian Economic Commission," Medvedev said after the meeting.

During the meeting. the leaders also approved enforcing agreements from next year on the free movement of goods, capital and workforces within the common economic space among the three countries.

Meanwhile, Medvedev said the creation of the EEU was different from the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), which groups Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

"We are not losing EurAsEC anyway, we should continue contacts with our counterparts - with those, who really want to work," he said.

The three presidents in November signed a package of agreements aimed at moving the former Soviet republics closer together. The agreements included a measure about the creation of the EEU, which was initiated by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in October.

According to Putin's initiative, the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union should gradually transform itself into the EEU, which was expected to become a bridge between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

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