The US Department of State kept its distance on Wednesday from a move byRussia and Belarus to unite. But department's spokesman Philip T. Reekerurged Belarus to follow Russia's example and reform its economy. Thecountries surrounding Belarus are doing so, leaving the former SovietRepublic isolated, Reeker was quoted as saying."We hope that the Lukashenko regime will take decisions to join the reformtrends that are prevalent all around Belarus," Reeker said.Russia and Belarus have considered uniting since 1996. On Wednesday,Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that the two countries introducea common currency in 2004 to help them integrate. Putin made the proposalduring a meeting at the Kremlin with President of Belarus AlexanderLukashenko, the Russia Journal reported..