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CIS jubilee summit passes not without controversy

September 05, 2011, 12:42 UTC+3

Late last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid a two-day visit to Tajikistan

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MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) — Late last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid a two-day visit to Tajikistan. On the first day he agreed with Emomali Rakhmon to sign early next year an agreement on the extension of the term of the Russian military base stay in this country for another 49 years. On Saturday, Dmitry Medvedev took part in the jubilee summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which was attended not by all the CIS heads of state.

After the bilateral meeting Dmitry Medvedev announced that he and Emomali Rakhmon agreed to extend the term of the Russian 201st military base stay in the country, writes Novye Izvestiya. The lease term expires in 2014, and the new agreement that will appear in the first quarter of next year extends the stay of the Russian contingent for another 49 years. The sides also signed a document on border troops. The details were not disclosed, but it is expected that Russian border guards will continue to keep watch on the Tajik-Afghan border.

The common language, found by Moscow and Dushanbe, clearly contrasts with the spirit of obvious contradictions that surfaced the next day at the CIS jubilee summit, the newspaper notes. First of all, of the 11 Commonwealth Heads of State only eight came to Dushanbe. Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Belarus were represented at the level of prime ministers. And if Alexander Lukashenko had to stay in Minsk due to the economic crisis, then Ilkham Aliyev and Islam Karimov did not come only because of disagreements with the neighbours.

The leaders who still attended the event did not avoid sharp remarks, emphasised Rossiiskaya Gazeta. First, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasi-zade clashed in the traditional dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. The President of Armenia fully made it clear that 20 years ago, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence, and over the past two decades a generation of people has grown there who do not understand at all why somebody is discussing and challenging this independence.

Moskovsky Komsomolets in an article entitled “A Jubilee with a Fight at the End” quotes the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan. He made an extremely sharp speech. “Maybe we should vote for the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh right now?” he asked. “The essence of the problem is that one country occupied the territory of another. I can say one thing: there are four UN Security Council resolution requiring the Armenian troops’ withdrawal from the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, but they are not fulfilled.”

The CIS summit in Dushanbe has demonstrated that this is no longer the key structure for Moscow, Kommersant believes. It places its stake on the Customs Union (CU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which, as the publication has found out, are facing serious reforms. The documents on their reorganisation are already being coordinated.

In Dushanbe, the newspaper notes, many talked about the problems of the organisation and its insufficient integration. The tone of speech by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was different from the final summit declaration, which included compliments to the CIS and a life-affirming ending. Medvedev noted that the statements about the amorphousness and poor fulfilment of the obligations assumed within the CIS are often reasonable and correct. And he said that the CU and CSTO are examples of more successful integration projects.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes that the Russian president criticised the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) first of all because it sends “huge delegations” to monitor elections. “In countries where there are problems the OSCE delegation consists of 10-15 people, and to us they send 300-500 people,” he said. Medvedev is confident that the OSCE applies double standards to Russia and other former Soviet countries. In addition, the Russian leader believes that thus Europe is trying to influence internal affairs of states: “The international observers coming from the OSCE have demonstrated a politicised approach to assessing the election preparations and procedure. This approach, let’s not hide, is often based on double standards.” The RF president even mentioned that he believes the OSCE assessments of Moscow and other former Soviet republics are a means of supporting the opposition.

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