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Leaders To Meet To Discuss Single Economic Space

27 August 2005 -- The leaders of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine were to meet today to discuss the Single Economic Space the four countries are seeking to establish.

ITAR-TASS reported that the presidents were expected to review a package of draft agreements aimed at intensifying economic integration and forming a customs union.

The meeting is being held in Kazan, in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, where leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) gathered for a summit yesterday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing concerns about the effectiveness of the CIS, said the CIS should be preserved but that its workings need to be improved and modernized to help the 12 member states increase cooperation.

The leaders' meetings are being held as Kazan celebrates the 1,000th anniversary of its founding.