Russia’s Foreign Ministry treated with utmost discretion a meeting of the Working Group for the Adaptation of the CIS Collective Security Treaty, held in Moscow on April 20–the treaty’s expiration date. The Russian side was still hoping against hope that Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan would use this last opportunity to add their signatures to the protocol which prolongs the validity of the treaty pending its “adaptation.” However, those three countries declined to attend the Moscow meeting and are now–officially and unambiguously–outside the framework of the treaty. Tbilisi, Baku and Tashkent had been signaling since February of this year their intention to abandon the treaty (see the Fortnight in Review, March 25, April 9).
Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have signed the prolongation protocol and are involved in the “adaptation” talks (Vremya MN, April 20; Itar-Tass, April 22). Of these countries, only Kazakhstan has publicly called for revising the treaty as a condition to Astana’s continued adherence to it. Belarus and Tajikistan are too subservient, and Armenia apparently feels too dependent on Russia to challenge the treaty publicly.
The original treaty was signed in 1992 and went into effect in 1994 after Azerbaijan and Georgia had been press-ganged into it. Ukraine, Moldova and Turkmenistan–the latter a permanently neutral country–never signed that treaty. Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova formed last year the “GUAM” group of countries, intended to promote the common interests of these CIS countries outside the CIS framework and against Russian influence. Uzbekistan has just announced its intention to join GUAM at a special meeting of the member countries’ presidents, to be held on the sidelines of this week’s NATO summit in Washington.
LUKASHENKA SAYS NYET TO UNION WITH YUGOSLAVIA.