Russian president Boris Yeltsin denied today that Russia and Belarus are to unite in a single state. "Someone has got things wrong," Yeltsin said in a clear reference to Belarussian president Aleksandr Lukashenko. Yeltsin was speaking to journalists this morning before leaving on an official visit to Norway. He said the two countries will sign an "integration-deepening treaty" on April 2, but that this will not be a treaty on the establishment of a single state. (Itar-Tass, Reuters, BBC World Service, March 25) Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Belarus are expected to sign an accord on closer political and economic union later this week, but Lukashenko had indicated that Belarus was planning to go further and to set up supranational institutions, including a joint budget and currency merger, with Russia. Lukashenko’s announcement brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Minsk on Sunday in protest against union with Russia.
Yeltsin also indicated today that he intends to make a television appearance at the weekend, after his return from Norway, in which he will unveil details of his proposals for restoring peace in Chechnya.
CIS High-Level Meetings Announced.