Prime Minister Putin to push CES despite chill with Belarus

MOSCOW, October 15 (Itar-Tass) -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet his Belarussian and Kazakh counterparts, Sergei Sidorsky and Karim Maximov, on Friday to promote the creation of a common economic space (CES) of the three countries despite a chill in relations with Belarus following unfriendly rhetoric of President Alexander Lukashenko.

A Russian government official admitted Lukashenko's statements, who blamed Russia for all the problems on the eve of the presidential election in the country, delay the work, but will not disrupt the process of CES creation.

"There is definitely an impact. We understand that many things would have been done much faster if it were not for the political and pre-election situation of the Belarusian partners," he said, adding "despite all rhetoric, Belarussian experts continue the work."

The prime ministers are to consider close to 17 documents which form the groundwork of the common economic space.

However the introduction of a single currency is not on the agenda.

"A single currency is not discussed, but if the common economic space begins to operate, the economic logic dictates the necessity some time after to introduce a single currency. There's a long way to it, though. We need our Customs Union to work effectively and the CES to start operating from January 1, 2012," the official concluded.


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