Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 61

At a regular meeting in Moscow yesterday, the Council of Defense Ministers of CIS member countries recommended extending the term of Russian general Viktor Samsonov as Chief of the Military Cooperation Staff of CIS Countries. The ministers endorsed Russia’s proposal that Samsonov continue serving in that post concurrently with his more recently assumed post of chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces. Yesterday’s decision essentially reaffirms the council’s position reached at its January meeting, when Moscow had proposed to switch Samsonov from the CIS to the Russian post in place of Gen. Mikhail Kolesnikov, and to appoint Kolesnikov to Samsonov’s CIS post. Most ministers had opposed Kolesnikov’s nomination. The CIS Military Cooperation Staff does not exercise any real powers, and is likely to remain of secondary concern to Samsonov.

The council approved a draft concept of cooperation in military industry, based on which the staff should proceed to begin drafting an actual program of cooperation in that sector. The long-term program is expected to focus on supplying national armed forces, CIS subregional "coalitional forces" (proposed by Moscow but unlikely to emerge), the joint air defense system (which is developing slowly), and "collective peacekeeping" troops. Moldova declined to attend the Council meeting, and Ukraine and Turkmenistan attended only as observers. (Interfax, March 26)

Tajik Government and Opposition Forces Jointly Fight the Sodirovs.