Russian, Belarusian foreign ministries to hold joint session in Minsk

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend on Tuesday a joint session of top Russian and Belarusian diplomatic bodies in Minsk.

"The session is intended to focus on a number of issues aimed at the further integration of processes on the post-Soviet area, primarily in the format of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. Other issues of mutual interest will be also discussed," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The Customs Union between the three ex-Soviet neighbors became fully operational in early July, when the countries ratified the Customs Code. The states plan to scrap their customs borders on July 1, 2011.

Lavrov, who arrived in Minsk on Monday night, is also scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Martynov and attend an opening of the Russian Science and Culture Center in the capital of Belarus.

Relations between Moscow and Minsk have been strained over several economic and political disputes, including gas transits, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's failure to honor his promise to recognize the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

MINSK, November 23 (RIA Novosti)


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