Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 198

Nazarbaev succeeded Lukashenka as chairman of the Interstate Council by virtue of the alphabetical rotation principle, which some in Moscow had suggested might be waived in Russia’s favor in this case. No agreement was reached on rotating the chairmanship of the Integration Committee, the CU’s executive organ at deputy prime ministers’ level. Kazakhstan’s Nigmatzhan Isingarin remains provisorily in that office despite his earlier loss of status through release from the Kazakhstani government. The presidents decided to hold regular Interstate Council meetings on a quarterly basis, specifically on the second Wednesday of each quarter. This unusual specification is intended, according to Yeltsin, to prevent scheduling conflicts stemming from the presidents’ foreign travels. Moscow has often complained that CIS countries’ presidents tend to give precedence to non-CIS foreign travels over CIS business. At Yeltsin’s request that problem is also on the agenda of today’s meeting of CIS heads of state in Chisinau .

The presidents further decided to create: a Council of Prime Ministers of CU countries; an interparliamentary organ; and, in each member country, a governmental CIS Customs Union agency, comprised of separate divisions for customs systems, border control, tariff and nontariff regulation, currency control, foreign trade, and taxation. (Russian agencies, October 22) Such measures would seem to reflect the traditional CIS approach to problems by creating additional bureaucratic structures and eventually passing the buck to summit meetings, which then pass the buck anew to the same bureaucracies or create new ones to deal with the same problems.

Three Countries Welcome a Russian Concession.