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Putin describes Lukashenko as tough negotiator in integration talks

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday described his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko and his team as tough negotiators but said Moscow and Minsk have reached an understanding about how they will pull their countries closer to each other.

Lukashenko and his team “are tough negotiators but we generally reached an understanding about the pace and the steps we must take to move toward this [further integration],” the president said at his annual news conference. It also concerns economic issues, he said.

“I’m sure our citizens will feel this in their day-to-day lives,” Putin said.

Moscow and Minsk have a wide range of joint efforts to make for their economies to become closer and more competitive, he said. There’s the pressing issue of cellular roaming, the president said.

“Much has been done already, especially about social issues,” he said. “I mean freedom of movement and the status on the labor market and social benefits in a number of areas.”

The goals now include unification of tax and customs procedures and laws, he said.

“These are the key things: fiscal policy and legislation,” he said. “The process of coordination of positions has been long and hard.”

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