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Russia, Belarus Lawmakers Agree to Form Joint Body

MOSCOW, April 11 (RFE/RL) - Legislative leaders from Russia and Belarus signed an agreement today to set up an interparliamentary commission as part of a larger treaty creating a closer union between the two countries.

Russian news agencies said the commission will draft legislation for the interparliamentary assembly called for by the treaty. The treaty calls for closer links between the economies and political systems of the two countries but stops short of forming a single state.

Today's agreement was signed by the chairmen of both Russian parliamentary chambers, Yegor Stroyev and Gennady Seleznyov, and the chairman of Belarus' Supreme Soviet, Semyon Sharetsky.

Interfax news agency said an executive committee created by the treaty would meet for the first time behind closed doors in Moscow today.