Pavel Borodin, state secretary of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, will arrive in Minsk on November 1 to meet Belarussian premier Gennady Novitsky, a spokesman at the information department of the standing committee - the executive body of the Union state - told RIA Novosti. It is expected that the sides will examine preparations for the next meeting of the Union's Council of Ministers, due in mid-November. Borodin will also have talks with Alexander Shpilevsky, chairman of the of the Belarussian state customs committee and Minsk mayor Mikhail Pavlov. The agenda of the day of the meeting of the Russian-Belarussian Council of Ministers includes the discussion of the issues of drafting a constitutional act and a tax code, holding elections to the lower house of the parliament of the Union states, and the implementation of the decisions on the creation of a single currency. Apart from that, the draft of a budget of the Union state for 2002 and progress in fulfilling this year's budget will be examined. As distinct from the Russian side, the Belarussian side has not financed it in full. Another item on the agenda of the day of the meeting of the Union's Cabinet of Ministers will be the discussion of the draft of an interstate programme of combating terrorism and other manifestations of extremism. All in all, over a dozen issues will be examined.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea