ASTANA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The heads of state from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed a treaty here Thursday to launch a European Union (EU)-style bloc to facilitate the free flow of people, capital and goods within the three countries.
The agreement forging the Eurasian Economic Union, inked by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Russian President Vladimir Putin, will come into force on Jan. 1, 2015.
It had been drafted to meet all the interests of the union's participants, Nazarbayev said at the signing ceremony.
"The agreement is balanced, articulate and consistent with the interests of all (member) countries," he said, adding the document "is of historic importance to Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus."
Earlier in the day, Putin said the treaty was signed thanks to concerted efforts by the three countries.
"This is a result of our joint work, close cooperation between the governments of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.
He also said the new alliance would work on universal and clear rules, including those adopted by the World Trade Organization.
"We are creating a powerful and attractive center of economic development, a major regional market bringing together over 170 million people," he said, adding the pact would allow the three countries to exploit their economic potential and strengthen their positions in global markets.
The alliance is aimed at boosting ties between the three countries, which are already part of a customs union created in 2010 in an effort to build a free trade rival to the 28-nation EU.
The treaty commits them to guaranteeing the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, and to implementing coordinated policies in such key sectors as energy, industry, agriculture and transport.
The prospects of an EU-like bloc spanning both Europe and Asia have attracted the interest of several other countries in the region, such as Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Russia has been actively promoting integration in the post-Soviet space over the past few years.
In 2011, Putin, then prime minister of Russia, proposed the new union. Under his initiative, the Customs Union should gradually transform itself into the Eurasian Economic Union, which would become a bridge between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Critics say the creation of the trade bloc is an attempt by Moscow to mimic the Soviet Union, but Putin has repeatedly denied the charge.
《 国际英语新闻：Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan to form Eurasian economic bloc in 2015》出自：天天学英语