Although Russian prime ministerViktor Chernomyrdin said that “nobody will stop us from uniting,” theCIS summit in Minsk was generally a disappointment to those who wanttighter integration among its 12 member countries. Ten of the 12presidents attended–Shevardnadze arrived at the last moment–sevenagreed to a payments union, six agreed to a human rights declaration,and an unspecified number backed the extension of peacekeeping mandatesin Tajikistan and Abkhazia, Interfax reported. Belarusian PresidentAleksandr Lukashenko sought to put the best face on the meeting, but heacknowledged that Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev’s recentcomments about Moscow’s right to use force to defend Russian co-ethnicsabroad means that few other countries are likely to follow Belarus’lead and end their border controls with Russia. The next CIS summitwill be in Sochi November 3.
Will Moscow Sign On To Partnership For Peace?