Nine of the 12 presidents of the CIS statesassembled in Minsk to discuss economic integration and other issues,Itar-Tass reported May 26. Missing were Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev,Turkmenistan’s Sapurmurat Niyazov, and Georgia’s Eduard Shevardnadze.Chaired by Boris Yeltsin, the meeting is unlikely to make any serious progress on most issues. The Russian CIS minister Valeri Serov noted that none of the countries were prepared to cooperate economically, concluding sadly that any integration would only be “born in pain.” The group is likely to extend the peacekeeping mandates for Tajikistan and Abkhazia. But only seven CIS country border guards chiefs agreed May 25 to have common border guards and customs services, Itar-Tass said. The news service said that the presidents of the seven would sign an accord on this May 26.
Regional Leader: Elections May Be Canceled.