The prime ministers of the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States met in Minsk, Belarus, on June 4. Unable to agree on matters of substance, the ministers replaced the defunct Executive Secretariat with a new Executive Committee with twelve deputy chairmen, one for each member state. The meeting also renewed a commitment to free trade in the region by the year 2000. That is a pipe dream. A 1994 agreement on an economic union that includes a free-trade area has thus far been ratified by only six of the twelve members, and a protocol making some seventy changes in that agreement lags even further behind. A CIS free-trade area would in any case be incompatible with a number of subregional agreements, including the Russia-Belarus Union and the free-trade zone that theoretically exists among Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.