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MOSCOW, September 1 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is departing for Dushanbe on Thursday where on September 2 he will attend a meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The agenda includes 17 items.
According to RF Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, “the ministers will discuss topical issues of multilateral cooperation within the Commonwealth, exchange views on promising spheres of further cooperation within the CIS framework, including issues of harmonisation of regional integration processes.”
In connection with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the organisation the foreign ministers will consider a draft Analytical Report “The Results of CIS Activities over 20 years and Tasks for the Future.” The document’s text will be submitted for approval by the Heads of State and Government of the Commonwealth.
Touching on issues of security in the region Lukashevich said that the officials plan to discuss draft documents “designed to give further impetus to the development of collective interaction in the law enforcement sphere, in the spheres of ensuring security and combating terrorism, migration and demographic policies, in the humanitarian sector, raising the effectiveness of the work of separate bodies of sectoral cooperation.”
“Tajikistan will chair the meeting of CIS foreign ministers in Dushanbe,” Lukashevich said earlier. “The ministers will discuss the international agenda, the CIS bilateral cooperation and future of cooperation in the organisation.” They will exchange views on regional cooperation, integration in Europe and Asia, he said. The sides will also discuss a draft joint statement. The agenda will include a draft of the agreement on immortalisation of the CIS peoples’ heroism in World War II, which is expected to be signed later on by the presidents. Besides, the foreign ministers will pay attention to joint effort in fighting terrorism and drug trafficking in the region.
The ministers’ meeting precedes a meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State and Government scheduled for September 3, also in the Tajikistani capital.
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organisation whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the break-up of the Soviet Union.
The CIS is comparable to a very loose association of states and in no way comparable to a federation, confederation or supra-national organisation such as the old European Community. It is more comparable to the Commonwealth of Nations. Although the CIS has few supranational powers, it is aimed at being more than a purely symbolic organization, nominally possessing coordinating powers in the realm of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also promoted cooperation on democratisation and cross-border crime prevention. As a regional organisation, CIS participates in UN peacekeeping forces. Some of the members of the CIS have established the Eurasian Economic Community with the aim of creating a full-fledged common market
The organisation was founded on 8 December 1991 by the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine, when the leaders of the three countries met in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Natural Reserve, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Brest in Belarus and signed a Creation Agreement on the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the creation of CIS as a successor entity to the USSR. At the same time they announced that the new alliance would be open to all republics of the former Soviet Union, as well as other nations sharing the same goals. The CIS charter stated that all the members were sovereign and independent nations and thereby effectively abolished the Soviet Union.
On 21 December 1991, the leaders of eight additional Soviet Republics – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – signed the Alma-Ata Protocol and joined the CIS, thus bringing the number of participating countries to 11. Georgia joined two years later, in December 1993. As of that time, 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics participated in the CIS. Three former Soviet Republics, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, chose not to join.
In March 2007, Igor Ivanov, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, expressed his doubts concerning the usefulness of CIS, emphasising that the Eurasian Economic Community was becoming a more competent organisation to unify the biggest countries of the CIS. In May 2009 the six countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine joined the Eastern Partnership, a project which was initiated by the European Union (EU).