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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kudrin Says Belarus Ready for Ruble in 2005

MINSK, Belarus -- Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Saturday that officials from Russia and Belarus have come to terms on a draft agreement to introduce the ruble as the single currency in both countries by the beginning of 2005.

Speaking after meetings with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and other officials, Kudrin said the agreement, along with two other documents that should be ready within two weeks, would set the stage for the introduction of the single currency, Interfax reported.

Russia and Belarus signed a union treaty in 1996 envisaging close political, economic and military ties, but they stopped short of creating a single state and have made few concrete moves toward integration.

Ties between Lukashenko and President Vladimir Putin have been tense, but in January they vowed to push ahead with existing plans to create a constitution-like document for the union and to establish the Russian ruble as a single currency by Jan. 1, 2005.

However, the countries have been unable to agree on a single money-issuing center amid fears in Minsk that Belarus will lose control over its economy if it cannot print money. Neither Kudrin nor any Belarussian official mentioned the issue or offered any other details about the draft agreement.