Putin, Lukashenko might bar themselves from Union presidency

MINSK. Sept 29 (Interfax) - The incumbent Russian and Belarussian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, might pledge not to aspire to the presidency of the Belarus-Russia Union if this union is set up, Lukashenko said at a press conference in Minsk on Friday.

"Putin or Lukashenko are not an issue," the Belarussian leader said. "If we make this decision, we can live without these offices," he said.

He vowed that the two leaders' political ambitions will not influence the introduction of the presidential office in the union.

"I cannot say that we do not have any ambitions and that neither Lukashenko nor Putin are afraid of losing the independence of their countries. I would be insincere if I claimed the opposite," he said.

Lukashenko, however, denied that these ambitions could hinder the establishment of the union.

"If Belarus and Russia set up a unified state, it is for the peoples of the two countries to decide who should be president of it," he said.