Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 221

The prime ministers’ meeting created a “working group” to prepare an anticrisis program that would focus on: removing restrictions to intra-CIS trade, facilitating interbank and barter settlements, and repatriating national currencies. They also signed agreements of intent to create a CIS common agricultural market and facilitate the transit of agricultural produce. There was no information about follow-up meetings, level of official representation, possible timeframe and mechanisms of realization of either of the two projects (Itar-Tass and other Russian agencies, November 26-27). The prime ministers seemed to spend less time and attention discussing these anticrisis measures than they did on the organizational and political issues. If traditional CIS practice is any guide, creating working groups and signing documents of intent is a way of shelving thorny issues. It remains to be seen whether the pressure of the financial and economic crises would make a difference this time around.