President: Russia slows unification with Belarus

MINSK. Sept 29 (Interfax) - Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Russia on Friday of slowing formation of the planned Union State of Belarus and Russia.

A Russian-Belarussian agreement prescribes that the draft Union State constitution be put to referendums in the two countries.

The draft for what would be entitled the Constitutional Act had its text approved by experts and both countries' parliaments, Lukashenko told a news conference in Minsk.

However, after that draft amendments came from Moscow that ran against Russian-Belarussian agreements, he said.

"It is proposed obtaining approval by a referendum for a Constitutional Act that would be weaker than the current treaty on forming the union state," Lukashenko said.

Yet Belarus "is categorically against" this, he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "proposes traversing the route of the European Union" but Belarus disagrees with that, the Belarussian leader said.

"Why should we start with Noah's Deluge if we lived in the same country until just a short while ago," Lukashenko said.

He expressed fear that formation of the Union State would be suspended for three years, until the end of Russia's next parliamentary and presidential elections.

At the same time, "it's not true that there is no progress in building the Union State just because Belarus has not become part of Russia, because it has not unified legally, because there is no single president."