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Belarus: Minsk, Moscow Consider Common Currency

Minsk, 18 May 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka met today with Pavel Borodin, the state secretary for the Union of Russia and Belarus, to discuss steps toward introducing a common currency for the two countries. Lukashenka told the Belarusian People's Assembly that the two governments have yet to consider where a common currency would be printed or how it would enter the Belarusian economy. But he said discussions must be on an equal basis and that any unequal union would be shortlived.

Later at a press conference Lukashenka praised Moscow as a military partner for Belarus. "We have such an ally. It is our brother Russia. Today, Russia's military power is a reliable guarantee that nobody will be tempted to bring Belarus to its knees using their armed forces."

Borodin came to Minsk from Geneva where he was questioned yesterday on charges of having laundered some $25 million in Switzerland. He told reporters he does not expect the case to create any problems for him.