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Alexander Lukashenko has been elected chairman of the Interstate Council of the EurAsEC for next year
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has been elected chairman of the Interstate Council of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) for next year, its current chairman, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, said after an extended session of the body today. Nazarbayev said the leaders of the Eurasec nations (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan, while Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine have observer status) had agreed on further moves to step up their cooperation. Nazarbayev said trade within the Eurasec had grown by 40% to $28 billion in 2004. The Kazakh president said the Eurasec leaders had agreed that the organization was conducive to national economic growth. According to Nazarbayev Belarus' economy has grown by 6.5% over the four years of the organization's existence, Kazakhstan's economy has grown 10.3%, Kyrgyzstan's economic growth has been 4.8%, the Russian economy has grown by 6.2%, and Tajikistan's economic growth has reached 9.7%. Integration processes are continuing within the organization. "We intend to continue working to establish a free trade zone without any exemptions and restrictions," he said. "We will also continue discussing customs tariffs," said Nazarbayev. He said Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan had brought 75% of their tariffs closer together. The president said Tajikistan would come closer to the target, too. Nazarbayev added a new Russian-Kazakh investment bank was open to all economic community members. The next Eurasec meeting will take place in Minsk, Belarus, in June 2006
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