Belarus: No quick union with Russia

Belarus' president on Friday dismissed speculation that his two days of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin were aimed at a quick union between the two countries that Putin would head.

 Belarus: No quick union with Russia
President Alexander Lukashenko's office said last week that a draft constitution for a unified country's government would be part of the agenda.

But at the start of a second day of meetings, Lukashenko said, "I was surprised that this visit has caused all this uproar in the West. There is no wider meaning here."

The Kremlin also moved Thursday to quash talk of an imminent merger, denying that Putin's talks with Lukashenko and other officials would touch upon the draft constitution.

While those statements discouraged expectations of a quick union, Putin's trip to Belarus — his first since 2003 — underlined a growing interest in bringing the two countries together after more than a decade of sporadic discussions and arguments.

The creation of a single state could give Putin a way to stay in power after he is forced to step down from the presidency next May.

A merger of the two predominantly Slavic, Orthodox Christian countries would be the first of any two ex-Soviet republics since the Soviet Union split apart in 1991, and would make many Russians proud.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Aralık 2007, 14:51