CIS Council of Heads of State meeting in Bishkek

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The international appeal and influence of the Commonwealth of Independent States should be enhanced, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the CIS Heads of State Council summit in Bishkek on 16 September.

The Belarusian leader pointed out that the draft decisions of the summit contain a number of suggestions on how to upgrade the organization. “Some might be dissatisfied with the documents to be adopted today. Still, these agreements are a result of compromises and concessions. This means that the effort to adapt the CIS to the realities of today should be continued. And this effort should meet the interests of the member states. A logical result should be the transformation of the CIS into a more internationally appealing and influential organization,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. The Belarusian leader noted that already today, the CIS member states promptly address contemporary international challenges in a consolidated effort.

The President noted that the jubilee summit allows the countries to look back at what had been achieved and compare notes for the future. Moreover, results of the work to modernize the Commonwealth of Independent States in the last 12 months would be summed up today. “It is my pleasure to support the idea of preserving the CIS as an international organization with all the attributes the status gives. It would be unwise to lose what we have gained in this period,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. “Belarus initially believed that personnel optimization and stricter financial discipline — it must be definitely done — should not convert the CIS into a peripheral discussion platform. We are in favor of preserving effective mechanisms for executing interstate decisions.”

The head of state pointed out that the inability to resolve certain issues had prompted the CIS reforms. “We understand that, if not reformed, the CIS should at least be updated to meet modern realities. It is a fact. It is unlikely we will be able to step up cooperation within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States and use the platform to deal with more complicated issues. We have to admit it. We will not be able to do it due to subjective and objective reasons. Times have changed. A number of other associations have emerged, including in the post-Soviet space, where the majority of the heads of state I see here are represented. They are satisfied with it. It is one of the objective reasons,” noted the Belarusian leader.

Yet the Belarusian head of state said he believes that the CIS nicely fits the integration system in the post-Soviet space and has become a good platform, including for bilateral meetings. “All the heads of state, who are present here, never get tired of saying that the CIS fits this integration process as a platform for our discussions and statements. I sometimes compare it to G20, which session took place a short while ago. It is likely that the G20 session did not pass concrete decisions but instead made statements that determine the development strategy of the mankind, our planet at least for the foreseeable future. We do roughly the same in the CIS. More than that, we make concrete decisions on things we don’t disagree,” the President stressed.

“As for the overlapping functions of the CIS, EEU and CSTO, I have to admit that such a problem exists. The CIS should undergo an upgrade to be able to meet the challenges of today. Meanwhile, we should not make hasty decisions that can cause a decline in the interaction with the countries that are not EEU or CSTO members,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “These countries conduct certain activities within the framework of the CIS, and we can at least talk to them.”

In his speech the head of state said that Belarus expects a lot from Russia’s presidency in the CIS. “I think that at last Russia will make definite and loud statements and will give answers to the questions the CIS faces today,” the President said. “During the organization’s inception Russia acted as the decisive factor that unites many countries. We expect a lot from this presidency.”

At the end of the 25thCIS summit the heads of state passed the document concerning the adaptation of the Commonwealth to modern realities. They also approved the program of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other violent forms of extremism for 2017-2019, the program of cooperation of the CIS member states in the prevention of cybercrimes for 2016-2020, and other documents.

In particular, the extended session the heads of state passed a statement on the occasion of the 25thanniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Nuremberg Trials, etc.

They also signed a package of documents to promote humanitarian cooperation.