Azerbaijani president Haidar Aliev stated on arrival in Chisinau for the CIS summit that he "would have liked to see in the CIS "equality of rights, respect for national interest, no attempts to form a new Union, and no privileged status for one particular country. Unfortunately, such [characteristics] are not in evidence." Even Aliev’s regional antagonist, Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosian, obliquely cautioned his Russian ally that "it is not advisable to accelerate integration. Each country must set its own tempo." Despite its military cooperation with Russia, Armenia has cited compelling economic considerations for staying out of the CIS Customs Union, which held a summit in Moscow yesterday.
Uzbek president Islam Karimov said in Chisinau with reference to the Customs Union that its ultimate aim is "to pull the rest of us by the ears into a [new] Union…We must be independent and not orient ourselves after the Kremlin’s towers." Karimov cited Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma as having agreed with these remarks. (Russian agencies, Flux, Basapress, October 22-23) These remarks helped set the tone for today’s official meeting of the presidents, who are convening under Boris Yeltsin’s chairmanship.
CIS Meeting Turns Down Russian-Proposed Peacemaking Agency.