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State Duma expected to ratify two agreements with CIS countries

By Grigor Krichevsky

Moscow, April 18 (RFE/RL) - The Russian State Duma is expected to ratify two important agreements with CIS countries on closer political and economic integration when it convenes tomorrow.

Our correspondent in Moscow quotes Duma deputies as saying the legislators intend to ratify an agreement on closer integration with Belarus that was reached on April 2. The treaty calls for closer links between the economies and political systems of the two countries, but stops short of forming a single state.

The Russian legislators say ratification of another treaty from March 27, on forming closer ties with Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, is also on tomorrow's agenda.

Our correspondent says Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov will address the parliamentarians before they cast votes on whether to ratify the Russian-Belarus accord. Pastukhov is expected to explain what the agreement entails.