Russia and Belarus will sign the Agreement introducing the Russian ruble in Belarus as a single currency unit in January 2005 in September 2003 at the latest, head of the National Bank of Belarus Pyotr Prokopovich told a press conference.
"But a whole year of interstate procedure will be needed for the Agreement to work," he said, adding that "interstate procedure" and fulfilment of all previously reached bilateral agreements by the Russian side were two necessary conditions needed to introduce the Russian ruble on the Belarussian territory.
He also believes that the Agreement might as well be signed in time. According to his account, the joint Russian-Belarussian working group needs two more weeks to finish working on documents accompanying the Agreement. Further on, the sides will discuss the documents in the presence of the Belarussian president; after that, the leaders of Russia and Belarus are supposed to take "a decision of principle to introduce the Russian ruble in Belarus in 2005."