United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

17 March 1997



General Assembly
Fifty-second session
Items 38, 81 and 99 of the
  preliminary list*

     * A/52/50.



                             ECONOMIC COOPERATION

         Letter dated 14 March 1997 from the Permanent Representatives
         of Belarus and the Russian Federation to the United Nations  
                      addressed to the Secretary-General

     We have the honour to transmit herewith the text of the joint
statement, signed in Moscow on 7 March 1997, by the President of the
Russian Federation, B. N. Yeltsin, and the President of the Republic
of Belarus, A. G. Lukashenko, in connection with the formation on
2 April 1996 of the Association between the Russian Federation and the
Republic of Belarus (see annex).

     We should be grateful if this letter and its annex were circulated
as a document of the General Assembly under items 38, 81 and 99 of the
preliminary list.

(Signed)  A. SYCHOU                                (Signed)  S. LAVROV        
          Ambassador                                         Ambassador       
   Permanent Representative                           Permanent Representative
  of the Republic of Belarus                         of the Russian Federation
    to the United Nations                              to the United Nations  


        Joint statement by the President of the Russian Federation and
          the President of Belarus, signed in Moscow on 7 March 1997

     The formation on 2 April 1996 of the Association between the
Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus was an historic event
which elevated to a new level the process of uniting two fraternal
peoples and integrating our States.

     From the first days of its formation, the main task of the
Association has been to ensure the rights and interests of Russian and
Belarusian citizens.  They have already been granted equal rights to
medical assistance, education, employment, remuneration for labour and
other social guarantees.

     The establishment of a single customs area, work to ensure
identical conditions for the functioning of the economic entities of
the Russian Federation and Belarus, and the implementation of joint
economic and social programmes have had an increasingly positive
impact on solving the problems confronting our peoples.

     The Russian Federation and Belarus have established close and
trusting cooperation in the area of foreign policy.  Our countries are
united in their rejection of the plans to expand the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) eastward, which runs the risk of creating
new dividing lines and dangerous confrontation on the continent. 
Having combined their efforts, the two States will continue to strive
actively to bring about in Europe a system of comprehensive security
that takes into account in a just manner the interests of all the
members of the European family of nations.

     Nevertheless, the conditions of life require that we proceed more
persistently and effectively along the path of further closer
relations.  Russians and Belarusians quite rightly expect a
considerable practical return from the work that has begun.  We have
no right to disappoint the expectations of our peoples and we are full
of determination to take further steps to expand integration.

     The Presidents of the Russian Federation and the Republic of
Belarus believe that there is a need to strengthen the legal basis for
the Association and enhance the effectiveness of all its structures. 
To this end, plans are being made to strengthen the governing powers
of the Supreme Council and the Executive Committee and clearly
regulate the questions of the establishment and competence of other
joint bodies.

     The establishment of an effective mechanism for carrying out
decisions taken by Association bodies is a measure that must now be
taken.  Their timely and complete implementation by all State bodies
and legal and natural persons of the Russian Federation and Belarus
must become an immutable rule.

     At the level of State executive bodies, there is a need to
establish a mechanism for cooperation which would ensure direct
contacts between their leaders in dealing with issues that are of
mutual interest as well as an ongoing exchange of current information.

     The Presidents will assume direct control over the measures to
enhance the effectiveness of the activities of the inter-State bodies
that have been and are being established.

     The unification of the two countries' legislation is considered a
top-priority task.  The Parliamentary Assembly, which is not
sufficiently effective today, is to play an important role in carrying
out that task.  In order to establish a fully developed legal basis
for integration, a procedure must be set up whereby laws adopted by
the Assembly within the framework of its competence are incorporated
by the Parliaments of the two States members into their legal systems
in a manner that would ensure their entry into force as speedily as

     In the economic field, we consider it necessary to create equal
organizational and economic conditions for the economic entities of
the two States and for conducting a coordinated structural policy.  To
these ends, particular attention is to be given to implementing a
jointly prepared programme for synchronizing economic reforms.

     A set of measures aimed at ensuring the most favourable conditions
for the priority development of trade and the unimpeded movement of
goods, services, capital and manpower is to be drawn up and
implemented.  In order to achieve this, the foundation for a single
normative legal basis is to be laid by the end of 1997, chiefly by
developing general norms as well as unifying civil and customs codes
and simultaneously introducing common taxation legislation.

     In the area of production, joint scientific and production
programmes are to be actively carried out, transnational companies are
to be set up, and a plan for the coordinated development and
deployment of productive capacities is to be drawn up.

     Combined transport, energy and communication systems are to be

     A higher level of economic integration is to be achieved by
conducting a common financial, credit and budget policy leading to a
monetary union.

     Funds allocated from the customs duties of the Russian Federation
and Belarus in accordance with standards set by the Supreme Council
are also to be used in establishing the Association's budget.

     All this will promote the building of a single economic complex
for the purpose of solving social problems.

     In the social and humanitarian field, the transition to common
standards in the Association's social policy is to begin in 1998 after
a gradual equalization of remuneration for labour is achieved and the
living standard of the population of the two States is enhanced. 
This, first of all, relates to allowances and entitlements for war and
labour veterans, disabled persons and low-income families.

     The introduction of the institution of Association citizenship,
whereby all citizens of the Russian Federation and all citizens of the
Republic of Belarus are also citizens of the Association, could be an
effective instrument for ensuring the complete equality of Russians
and Belarusians.

     Bilateral humanitarian, cultural, scientific and technological and
information links are to be stepped up, and the work aimed at opening
information and cultural and scientific and technological centres in
Moscow and Minsk is to be completed.

     The Presidents of the Russian Federation and Belarus are convinced
that our peoples, having set out on the path of unity, have made the
correct choice for all time to come, and this will undoubtedly help to
ensure the economic growth and security of the Association and enhance
the well-being of our citizens.

     We must act energetically and purposefully on behalf of this
sacred cause.

(Signed)  B. N. YELTSIN                             (Signed)  A. G. LUKASHENKO


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