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Duma Endorses Union Agreement Between Russia and Belarus

Moscow, April 5 (RFE/RL) - The Russian State Duma today endorsed the recent union agreement signed by Moscow and Minsk.

Our correspondent quotes Duma officials as saying that 320 Russian lawmakers voted for a resolution supporting the union treaty, eight members voted against it and five abstained.

The vote does not imply ratification of the treaty. The ageement itself stops short of creating a single state.

Deputies called on CIS presidents to support the treaty as a major step toward integration.

Today's resolution was prepared by the Communist Party of Gennady Zyuganov, the Liberal-Democratic Party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and the bloc "Our Home Is Russia" of prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

The moderate-reformist "Yabloko" faction of economist Grigory Yavlinsky has criticised the agreement, but today came out in support of it.