Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan sign customs union agreement

The presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed a statement Monday regarding the coming into force of a new customs union code, The Voice of Russia reported.

The trilateral alliance will become operational on Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a news conference in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital.

He was speaking in the wake of the Eurasian Economic Community, Eurasec, summit, an economic community composed of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which is now in its 10th year.

Medvedev and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev approved the customs code in June. Belarus dragged its feet on the ratification, but Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced Saturday that the country had also ratified the document.

Eurasec leaders are scheduled to consider the formation of a court to replace the Commonwealth of Independent States Customs Court and approve a budget for 2011.

Nazarbaev announced that the next Eurasec summit would be held in Moscow in late December.

Kyrgyz and Tajik leaders, Roza Otunbayeva and Emomali Rahmon, said it was likely that their countries would join the customs union in the future when the conditions are appropriate.


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