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Press Release, 12.12.99
Vladimir Lukin, "Yabloko favours a fully-fledged integration of Russia and Belarus


"The Yabloko association has favoured and does favour the fully-fledged integration of Russia and Belarus". That is how Vladimir Lukin, Chairman for the Committee on International Relations of the State Duma of the RF (Yabloko faction) commented on December 7, 1999 on the signing of the union treaty between the two states that was to take place on December 8, 1999."

Vladimir Lukin stressed that Yabloko proposed as early as 1997 its version of the economic integration of Russia and the former Soviet republics, including Belarus. He expressed his conviction that "economic integration could become the best concept of a union at the present stage".

Unfortunately, remarked Vladimir Lukin, according to the presently adopted draft of the Union: "the main role belongs to some political construction, rather than economics, that may lead to the creation of a union of presidents, rather than nations."

At the same time Lukin noted that if "the proposed treaty doesn't contain anything too atrocious, Yabloko will support it, although it will prove difficult to implement owing to a number of inevitable internal discrepancies between the articles of the treaty".

However, Lukin advocated against ratification of the treaty before the holding of parliamentary elections in both Russia and Belarus, to "avoid further accusations that the treaty is illegitimate."

Speaking about the declaration of Vladimir Ardzinba, the president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Abkhazia and his wish to participate in the integration process between Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Lukin stressed that "this territory belongs to Georgia".

He warned some Russian politicians against accusations of applying double standards. "If we defend the territorial integrity of Russia to resolve the Chechnian problem, we have no right to support separatist trends elsewhere", said Vladimir Lukin.

"I favour participation of Abkhazha in the integration process of Russia and Belarus, but within Georgia", stressed Vladimir Lukin.

Based on Interfax information