"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
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