MINSK, October 10. /TASS/. Moscow does not find worriesome the absence of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko at the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Minsk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
“Ukraine was represented by the ambassador,” Lavrov told TASS. The foreign minister explained that the CIS, a loose alliance of former Soviet states, is not involved in resolving the conflict in Ukraine. “The CIS is not dealing with settling the situation in Ukraine, this is the problem of Kiev and the south-east as part of the Minsk process,” Lavrov said.
In a phone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday, Poroshenko apologized for not being able to attend the summit and asked him to notify the CIS heads of states about Ukraine’s stance on the developments in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
At the summit, Ukraine was represented by the country’s ambassador to Belarus, Mykhailo Yezhel.
Assessing the current effort to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, Lavrov said, “The process is ongoing.”
Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov on Friday criticized the decision by his Ukrainian counterpart not to attend the summit. He said Poroshenko seemed to be “undecided” on whether the participation in the summit is beneficial for him or not.
Poroshenko’s decision not to come to Minsk “can hardly be welcomed”, he told the CIS heads of states at a summit, adding that the whole world has been following events in Ukraine closely for a year already and waiting for the confrontation to end.
The address of Poroshenko at the summit “would have helped to clarify the Ukrainian settlement,” the Uzbek leader Islam Karimov said, adding that Ukraine has not officially withdrawn from the CIS.
Kiev seems to backtrack on the plans unveiled in March to withdraw from the CIS as the Ministry of Economy said that leaving the alliance is “unadvisable” in regard to Ukraine’s economic interests.
The agreement to establish the CIS was signed by Russia, Belarus and Ukraine on December 8, 1991. At the moment, the CIS unites Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Belarus took over the CIS presidency this year when Ukraine last spring refused to perform the functions of the CIS president.