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Belarus and Russia Fail to Agree on Shifting Belarus to Russian Rouble

Russia and Belarus have failed to agree on shifting Belarus to the Russian rouble from January 1, 2005, the Russian government has reported.

Russian officials say the rouble may still be introduced from 2006.

Analysts point out that Belarus requests for Russia to supply primary fuels at internal prices and pay the republic several billion dollars in compensation for integration hinder the process. Analysts say the Russian rouble as a single legal tender is politically unprofitable for either party.

Russia will drag out the process at least until Belarus presidential elections in 2006, while Belarus' president Alexander Lukashenko fears losing his control after economic integration with Russia.

(NewsBase 02.iv.04)

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