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RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DISCUSSES RUSSIA-BELARUS UNION. In an interview with "Izvestiya" on 10 July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 July 2002), Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said the process of integration in Russian-Belarusian relations does not foresee Belarus becoming a subject of the Russian Federation (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 18 June 2002). "The new principles of relations must build two sovereign states," Ivanov said, adding that, "From our point of view, it would be most justifiable to follow the principles of other associations that have proved their viability, the European Union in particular." Ivanov confirmed that the two countries plan to hold elections for a Russia-Belarus Union parliament, adding that: "It is one of the stages. But Europe did not begin with this stage. It is necessary first of all to expand economic cooperation, to unify the legal sphere, and only then to build supranational cooperation -- the highest level of integration." CB

BELARUS HINTS AT CHANGES IN RELATIONS WITH NATO. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on 10 July that Belarus will consider increasing ties with NATO, AP reported the same day. Lukashenka said Belarusian officials should consider modifying certain aspects of the country's foreign policy in light of Russia's new agreement with the alliance and Ukraine's intention to join NATO. Speaking at a meeting of Belarus's Security Council, Lukashenka said it is time "to evaluate the role of Belarus under the conditions of military-political and Euro-Atlantic integration and to determine its basic approaches to further cooperation with NATO." Lukashenka added, however, that Belarus has not changed its basic opposition to NATO expansion. He said it is important that Belarus not become a "dividing line between blocs" as it was between Nazi-controlled Europe and the Soviet Union during World War II. CB

U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY ARRIVES IN UKRAINE. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill arrived in Kyiv on 11 July as part of a tour of former Soviet republics, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 July. According to a statement issued by the Department of the Treasury, the focus of the trip will be to "accelerate private-sector investment, growth, and job creation." Secretary O'Neill is due to meet with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 12 July and will then proceed to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Georgia. O'Neill's spokesman Robert Nichols told journalists that the treasury secretary will not discuss recent reports on a reemerging arms trade between Ukraine and Iraq. RK