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CIS Summit In Minsk Discusses CIS Reform

CIS Summit In Minsk Discusses CIS Reform But Defers Decision
Belorusskie Novosty
Despite the resounding statements about several presidents not coming to the CIS Heads of State summit in Minsk, the National Airport Minsk has received all 12 governmental airplanes. However, there was one Head of State less in the end – the President of Turkmenistan did not find it possible to participate in the summit and sent his Vice President instead.
The summit agenda has many interesting points, with the greatest attention given to the problem of how to reform the CIS. A special report about how to make the CIS more efficient, arranged by a high-ranked- group chaired by the Belarusian President’s Administration Director Ural Latypov, was presented at the Minsk summit. This 42-page paper looks into every significant part in the Commonwealth, predicts some scenarios the CIS might progress, and provides practical recommendations.
Heads of States signed this document and decided to produce a new development concept for the CIS’s reformation before 1 June next year. The Presidents will probably be discussing it at a round table on 10 June 2007 in Saint Petersburg where the next summit is to be held. Thus, the Commonwealth of Independent States instituted 15 years ago, has been given another year to live.
Even Georgia that was going to leave the Commonwealth with several loud statements about the CIS being “vainness” did not make any significant remarks. Mikhail Saakashvili seems to have flown to Minsk only to see Vladimir Putin personally. Plus, Georgia’s attitude to the CIS was not supported by its GUAM colleagues Moldova and Ukraine. Before the summit, experts were saying that if someone really wanted to leave the CIS, they could have done it before the summit.
In general, the summit went on in a businesslike manner – the Presidents signed some documents and left some others for better times.
Several points were taken out of the agenda after the Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting preceding the summit. For instance, the Ukrainian-initiated Memorandum about understanding between the CIS countries in establishing a full-scale free trade area and protective measures in mutual trade, was put back into the drawer. Russia suggested that alterations and amendments to the CIS Business Court Agreement would not be discussed at this point.
Participants were not able to come to an agreement about legal formalities about the CIS borderline, which could have resulted in an emerging common CIS border.
The resulting press conference for journalists was hosted only by CIS-chairing Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and the CIS Executive Secretary Vladimir Rushailo. They summed up the modest results of the summit. The CIS Heads of State signed the Protocol about preventative illegal migration actions, agreements about counteracting criminal profits and funding terrorism; agreements about protecting criminal trials participants, and the CIS members cooperation programme in counteracting human trafficking for 2007-2010.
Vladimir Rushailo also said that in the economic part of the summit, “a document about progress in the major projects to improve the cooperation between the CIS members in business for 2007-2010 has been signed”.
Interestingly, the resulting press conference was overshadowed by a loud scandal – most of the Russian journalists who arrived in Minsk to provide coverage for the summit had left the National Library building before Nazarbaev and Rushailo came in to the press hall. Their negative response was instigated by the Belarusian authorities’ refusal to admit two Russian journalists: Alexandra Astafieva and Natalia Galimova from ‘Moskovsky Komsomolets’ and photographer Dmitry Azorov from ‘Kommersant’, to cover the summit.
Press Service Director at the Belarusian President’s Administration Pavel Lyogkiy explained this decision by the fact that both newspapers published some offensive materials about Lukashenko and Belarus in general.
In response, a big group of Russian journalists representing non-governmental publishers left the summit without waiting for the resulting press conference. Out of the big congregation of Russian Media numbering about a hundred journalists, only some representatives of ITAR-TASS and VGTRK remained.
On the eve of the summit, experts predicted that many Presidents were going to use their visit to Minsk for talks in the corridors about some issues most relevant for them at this present moment.


4 Декабря, 2006
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