On the eve of and during the CIS summit, Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Georgian Foreign Minister Irakly Menagarishvili and Azerbaijan’s senior presidential adviser Vafa Guluzade reaffirmed that their respective countries will not prolong their participation in the CIS Collective Security Treaty. Yeltsin’s senior adviser for foreign policy, Sergei Prikhodko, confirmed after the conclave that only five countries–Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan–are prepared to prolong their participation in the treaty, which is due to expire later this month. The nine original signatory countries are scheduled to hold one last meeting on April 20, but every indication suggests that the decisions in Tbilisi, Baku, and Tashkent to quit are irreversible. Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliev, moreover, criticized the Russian side for expanding its military presence in Armenia and deploying heavy armaments there, in clear violation of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. Aliev declared that his main purpose in attending the summit was to voice that concern. Azerbaijan also restated its offer to send an elite platoon to the former Yugoslavia as part of the Turkish contingent under NATO command. Aliev’s and Guluzade’s position prompted Lukashenka to describe Azerbaijan as “the most pro-NATO among the CIS countries” (Itar-Tass, RIA, April 2-3).
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