CIS SUMMIT IN KAZAN - 26 AUGUST
Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the CIS Institute, said on 25 August that that the CIS summit in Kazan should take steps to radically reform the organization, adding that any member states that want to leave the commonwealth should do so.
President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov arrived in Kazan on 26 August to participate in the Tatarstan capital's millennium celebrations, RTR, atar.ru, and other Russian media reported. Putin was to preside over a State council meeting devoted to interethnic relations in Russia and to take part in a summit of CIS leaders that is to examine ways to reform the organization, RIA-Novosti and polit.ru reported. On 27 August, Putin is to attend a summit of the four members of the Single Economic Space (SES) -- Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. He is also expected to meet separately with several leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Ukrainian President Viktor
Yushchenko, RIA-Novosti reported. VY
Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the CIS Institute, said on 25 August that that the CIS summit in Kazan should take steps to radically reform the organization, adding that any member states that want to leave the commonwealth should do so, TV-Tsentr reported. Zharikhin noted that President Putin said in March that that the CIS was created in an effort to facilitate a "civilized divorce" following the fall of the Soviet Union (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 April 2005). "There are children under this divorce -- the independent states -- and now they are grown and some want to go their own way," Zharikhin said, adding that it is time for Russia to stop paying alimony in the form of cheap energy. Zharikhin also said that CIS member states who want to join NATO and the European Union should be allowed to do so, but they should not expect to benefit from preferred trade status with Russia. However, he added, "I am afraid that nothing like that will happen in Kazan, and the CIS will continue on its current course upon their return." VY xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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