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Kyrgyzstan Says Customs Union Member Next Year

Kyrgyzstan says it will join the Russia-led Customs Union in 2015 but will need five years to fully complete the process.

Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Taiyrbek Sarpashev told Interfax in Russia on July 24 that Bishkek plans to join the alliance next year but will not meet all Customs Union requirements until 2020.

Kyrgyz officials had said previously their country would join the Customs Union by the end of 2014.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev and the presidents of the Customs Union's member-states -- Russia's Vladimir Putin, Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbaev, and Belarus's Alyaksandr Lukashenka -- signed a road map on May 29 outlining Kyrgyzstan's accession to the group.

The Kyrgyz government said on July 24 that Kyrgyz and Kazakh officials will discuss Kyrgyzstan's joining the Customs Union in Bishkek on July 25.

With reporting by Interfax