Russia, Belarus to set up regional air defence system

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Moscow, Oct 8 (UNI) Russia and Belarus will sign an agreement on November 2 to set up a joint regional air defence system, the state secretary of the Union State, Pavel Borodin, said today.

Mr Borodin said the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union State will hold a meeting here on November 2.

Stressing that the treaty was vital in the context of NATO's ongoing eastward expansion, he told RIA Novosti news agency that he had no doubt that it would be signed at the upcoming meet.

''Militarily speaking, it is virtually a shield against NATO,'' Mr Borodin said.

Earlier this week, at his talks in Minsk with the visiting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said he wanted to see a significant development of bilateral relations between the two countries before year-end. ''We need to raise to a new level our Union relations before year-end. We need to develop several or at least one program that will allow relations to significantly improve,'' Mr Lukashenko said.

UNI XC PD RK1642

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