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'Closer Integration' Document To Be Signed This Month

Moscow, March 19 (RFE/RL) - A top member of President Boris Yeltsin's staff says Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will sign an agreement on "closer integration" at the end of the month.

The official, requesting anonymity, told our Moscow correspondent that Presidents Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Askar Akayev and Nursultan Nazarbayev are expected to travel to Moscow for the signing ceremony.

The official said the ceremony is scheduled March 29, but this date has not been confirmed.

It remains unclear what kind of documents will be signed by the four CIS leaders in Moscow, but the Yeltsin staff member said it will be some kind of "confederation accord."

Yeltsin's campaign manager, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, early this month said Yeltsin would announce plans for a "confederation" as he unveiled his re-election campaign platform March 22-23. Since then, Yeltsin has said there will be an agreement on "deeper integration, gradually developing into the possibility of forming a confederation."

RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty and Bishkek report a series of documents under preparation, but they have been told by officials in each capital that the word "confederation" is not being used.