The 2002 budget of the Russia-Belarus Union State adjusted for return of funds on loans disbursed for implementation of union programmes will be equal to 3.3 billion rubles (about USD 110 million). This was disclosed by Pavel Borodin, state secretary of the Union state, at the Friday press conference in RIA Novosti. Borodin noted that Russia-Belarus commodity turnover in 2001 constitutes USD 11.5 billion, whereas in the Soviet era the volume of mutual trade between Russia and Belarus accounted for USD 30 billion. He stressed the need for an early creation of super-national bodies of the Union state. This does not mean the disbandment of the Standing committee, it will be expanding on the contrary. Gennady Seleznev, chairman of the Russia-Belarus Union Parliamentary Assembly and speaker of the Russian State Duma (lower parliamentary house), who took part in the press conference, said that the issue of publishing a single union paper will be settled next year.
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