ST. PETERSBURG, October 7. /TASS/. Leaders of CIS countries wrapped up the informal meeting that took place in St. Petersburg Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS Friday.
After the summit was over, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had a private conversation that lasted for about an hour, a source close to Lukashenko’s press office said later.
The meeting started at about 15:00 Moscow time at the Konstantinovsky Palace. The meeting was attended by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedow, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. Spokesman for the President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov said earlier that the head of state will not be able to attend the summit.
The event took place ahead of the upcoming CIS summit that will take place in Astana next week.
Opening the meeting, Putin thanked his colleagues for coming to St. Petersburg and noted that, due to a huge number of circumstances and historic reasons, their countries are Russia’s closest friends and allies. According to the Russian President, such informal meetings in St. Petersburg, which have already become a tradition, allow the CIS leaders to exchange opinions on the most pressing issues in a quiet and friendly atmosphere.
A feature of this year’s St. Petersburg summit was the gifts presented by the national leaders to Vladimir Putin for his 70th anniversary. For example, Lukashenko brought a certificate for a Belarus tractor that is currently being assembled in the Minsk Tractor Plant (MTZ) experimental production shop under a special technical order. Photos from the Konstantinovsky Palace also showed entire pyramids made from melons and watermelons, reportedly presented by the President of Tajikistan.