Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 183

On September 30-October 1, the internal affairs ministers of CIS member countries met in Kyiv while CIS state security ministers and intelligence chiefs met in St. Petersburg. Subsequent reports from several national capitals enlarge somewhat on the initial, sketchy joint communiques. Both meetings discussed joint responses to the “international terrorism” which manifests itself–according to the Russian side–in Russia’s North Caucasus and the Kyrgyz-Tajik-Uzbek border area. Russian representatives sought to use the situation in Moscow’s interest in two ways. First, by insisting that “terrorists” use Georgian and Azerbaijani territory to reach the North Caucasus, the Russian government seemingly tries to pressure these countries into readmitting some form of Russian military and intelligence presence on their territories. Second, the Russian representatives pressed for the creation of joint CIS intelligence and antiterrorist bodies under Russian control.

All the delegations unambiguously condemned terrorism and endorsed all-out efforts to combat it at the national and international levels. But most of them at the same time resisted, in various forms and degrees, the Russian proposals to create new structures within the CIS or to turn existing bodies into supranational ones. Ukraine’s was a leading voice in this respect. Some of the national delegations pointed, directly or indirectly, to the double standard implicit in Moscow’s current position. Thus these countries obtained the inclusion of strictures against “aggressive separatism” in the final joint communiques. By “aggressive separatism,” Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova mean the secessions of Abkhazia, Karabakh and Transdniester, all of which benefit from Russian backing. The Georgian and Azerbaijani delegations to both meetings, moreover, successfully defended themselves against the unsubstantiated accusations regarding the use of their territories by “terrorist forces.” And the Georgian delegations obtained from the Russian ones at least some lip service to the need to extradite terrorism suspects wanted by other countries. Tbilisi’s representatives surely had in mind Igor Giorgadze, whom Russia has sheltered, and other suspected participants in terrorist acts in Georgia.

The two meetings resulted in general proposals to strengthen bilateral multilateral cooperation against international terrorism, contraband–including that with oil products–and security of transportation arteries, as well as to create antiterrorist centers at the national and CIS levels and to use more effectively the CIS data bank on terrorism. The proposals are to be discussed at the CIS prime ministers’ meeting scheduled to be held this week in Yalta, Ukraine. The two ministerial meetings demonstrated that all CIS countries are determined to cooperate in antiterrorist efforts, and that most of them seek to avoid the misuse of joint endeavors by Russia’s security agencies in Russia’s political and hegemonial interests (Itar-Tass, Turan, Prime-News, Basapress, Flux, October 1-4).