Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 35

On an official visit to Kiev, Kazakstani foreign minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev shared with Ukrainian leaders his concern that Kazakstan’s membership in the CIS Customs Union (Russia-Belarus-Kazakstan-Kyrgyzstan) has caused a decline in trade between Kazakstan and Ukraine. The Ukrainian leaders and Tokayev shared the view that multilateral cooperation within the CIS must not hamper bilateral ties, and they jointly came out against the creation of CIS supranational institutions. Moreover, they discussed joint steps to ensure that the chairmanship of CIS bodies rotates among member countries. Endorsing that long-standing Ukrainian goal, Tokayev observed that Russia’s chairmanship term has long expired and "we must respect the CIS by-laws in designating the next chairmanship." At the same time, Tokayev pointed to his country’s need to exercise caution in its policies "because of its location between the two giants, Russia and China." (Intelnews, Interfax-Ukraine, February 18)

Georgian Opposition Group Claims Responsibility for Raids in Abkhazia.