CACO and EEC are merging
The Central Asian Cooperation Organization and the Euroasian Economic Community are merging; this was announced during the meeting of the CACO council in St. Petersburg.
The Chairman of CACO, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov, presented the decision by the heads of governments on October 6, 2005 at the press conference. Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president of Belarus - which is the only country within EEC and not a member of CACO - mentioned that he doesn't mind if these two organizations merge.
The merger will allow to eliminate duplication of duties and responsibilities, and also to reduce financial and time-related costs. In future, similar merging activity might include other regional organizations such as Single Economic Space.
Prior to meeting in St. Petersburg, the Prime Ministers of CACO and EEC met in Dushanbe. On 27 September, Dushanbe hosted meetings of the prime ministers from the member states of the Central Asian Cooperation Organization (CACO; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) and Eurasian Economic Community (EES; Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan).
Tajik Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov said that the CACO meeting ended with the signing of six documents intended to move Central Asia closer to a common market. Oqilov described the main accomplishment of the EES meeting the signing of a document on customs unification. The newspaper noted that EES member states have managed to unify 62 percent of their customs tariffs. The prime ministers of the EES member states also agreed to form a council on EES fiscal and economic policy, with economy and finance ministers from EES countries as its members.
Russia joins CACO
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 198, Part I, 19 October 2004
The Central Asian Cooperation Organization (CACO) welcomed Russia as its fifth member state at a summit in Dushanbe on 18 October, Asia Plus-Blitz reported. CACO now consists of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; the leaders of all member states attended the summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin commented, "As part of this organization, we hope, first of all, to develop our practical capabilities in fighting such threats as terrorism and regional extremism -- I mean religious extremism in our region -- in fighting illegal drug trafficking and other challenges," RFE/RL reported. Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov said that Russia's membership "will increase the potential and the dynamics of our organization"; other Central Asian leaders expressed similar sentiments. Summit
participants also decided to give Afghanistan the status of an official observer within CACO, ITAR-TASS reported. DK
...Tajik President Rakhmonov described security as the summit's main issue, but it was not the only issue on the agenda. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev outlined other summit decisions, saying, "Within three months the governments of CACO members will develop conceptual frameworks for signing agreements to create transportation-communications, produce, and water and power consortiums with the participation of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank," Avesta reported. DK
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CACO Meeting of 27 August 2004
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 165, Part I, 30 August 2004
CENTRAL ASIAN COOPERATION ORGANIZATION RATIFIES RUSSIAN MEMBERSHIP...
Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev announced on 28 August that the council of foreign ministers of member states in the Central Asian Cooperation Organization ratified Russia's accession to the organization during a 27 August meeting in Astana, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Toqaev said that the main topics at the meeting were the inclusion of Afghanistan in regional integration processes, the creation of an international hydropower consortium within the organization, shared television and radio broadcasts, and the removal of trade barriers between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, "Kazakhstan Today" reported. Toqaev also stated on 28 August that the OSCE needs to pay more attention on issues of trade and security, and avoid an excessive focus on humanitarian concerns. His remarks echoed a Russian-initiated statement on 3 July by a number of CIS states (see End Note, "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 July 2004). Russia's Foreign Ministry said on 28 August that it is satisfied with the results of the Central Asian Cooperation Organization's 27 August meeting, RIA-Novosti reported. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan founded the Central Asian Cooperation Organization in February 2002. The leaders of the member states will gather for a summit in Dushanbe in October. DK
...AND HOLDS 'CENTRAL ASIA-PLUS-JAPAN' MEETING. The foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan met on 28 August in Astana with Japanese Foreign Minister Yokiro Kawaguchi, Kazinform reported. The meeting ended with a joint declaration and a vow to hold further "Central Asia-plus-Japan" meetings. The declaration stressed the need to broaden cooperation in a variety of areas, including the economy, energy resources, the environment, and exchange programs, "Kazakhstan Today" reported. On the latter count, Japan will accept 1,000 students from Central Asia over the next three years. Japan will also organize training for Central Asian specialists on energy supplies, the environment, and water resources. At a separate meeting with Kazakh Foreign Minister Toqaev on 27 August, Kawaguchi said that Japan is prepared to help Kazakhstan in its bid for WTO membership, Kazinform reported. DK
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