Three ex-Soviet states were Friday to agree the first steps towards creating a Eurasian economic union, a project backed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to bind closer the former USSR.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Kazakhstan and Belarus counterparts Nursultan Nazarbayev and Alexander Lukashenko were to sign a declaration on further economic integration at a summit in Moscow, the Kremlin said in a statement.
“The declaration will set out the ultimate aim (of economic integration) as the creation of a Eurasian economic union,” it said.
Putin first evoked the idea of creating a Eurasian Union in a newspaper article published shortly after the announcement that he would seek to return to the Kremlin as president in 2012 polls.
The three countries already have a customs union but the creation of the Eurasian Union — which would have its own executive body and oversee a single economic space — would mark a huge step further.