Azerbaijan, Baku, March 16 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
The Executive Committee Chairman - CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev spoke in an interview with Trend on the eve of the meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow, to be held March 26.
Q: What main topics will be discussed at the meeting of the Council of CIS Foreign Ministers in Moscow March 26?
A: About 20 issues are expected to be discussed during the meeting of the Council of CIS Foreign Ministers. They relate to the development and deepening of interstate cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, in the field of security, cooperation in the international sphere.
This year we will celebrate the sixty-fifth-anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. 2010 is declared a year of veterans in the CIS countries. Ministers will consider the appeal of the CIS Presidents to the veterans of the front. It expresses deep appreciation to the generation of victors who released millions of people by making tremendous efforts. Experience and knowledge of veterans are particularly necessary for the education of the younger generation, counteraction to attempts to falsify the history. A plan of actions aimed at resolving of socially significant social problems of the CIS veterans' organizations will be considered. Ministers will discuss the proposal to hold a single lesson (Day), dedicated to victory in the Great Patriotic War on the eve of May 9 in the educational institutions.
It is also expected to take a decision to hold a single lesson (Day), dedicated to the Commonwealth of Independent States annually in December.
The draft decision "The chairmanship of Kazakhstan at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe' provides support for Kazakhstan's efforts aimed at improving the efficiency of the organization and further development of cooperation between the CIS and the OSCE.
The Russian side has submitted a Draft Treaty on European security. It aims at forming of the new security in Europe relevant to today's realities. It is proposed to support the initiative of Russia.
The draft agreement on cooperation in countering corruption fixes legal and institutional basis for combating corruption formed in the CIS states. A number of provisions of the universal international treaties governing the cooperation of countries in this field were also taken into account. The Draft Treaty on the interstate search of people will also be reviewed.
The document on the continuation of the CIS observers-mission at elections in the Commonwealth states in 2010 will be discussed and agreed at the Council meeting.
Q: Two Commonwealth countries - Armenia and Azerbaijan are currently in the state of military conflict. How do you see the resolving of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict? How can CIS resolve the problem?
A: There is no doubt that all members of the Commonwealth are interested in a rapid settlement of this conflict. I, as chairman of CIS Executive Committee, would be sincerely happy if Armenia and Azerbaijan come to a peaceful and just solution of this problem.
CIS Executive Committee, other organizations of the Commonwealth do not participate directly in resolving of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. But as far as possible they actively support all efforts to find mutually acceptable solutions.
Q:What are the prospects of the CIS? There is a opinion that the organization loses its urgency.
A:Both the CIS states' heads and heads of governments during the recent meetings have repeatedly emphasized the necessity and importance of preserving and strengthening the CIS.
Within the Commonwealth many urgent problems have been solved and are being solved, very interesting intergovernmental programs necessary for the CIS countries are being realized. Approving Economic Development Strategy of the CIS in 2008-2009, as well as program documents on deepening cooperation in transport, energy, innovation, in the humanitarian field once again confirm the urgency of the preservation and further development and improvement of the Commonwealth.
Q:In early 2010 Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia formed Customs Union. How do you assess the effectiveness of the organization?
A: Customs Union operates only three months. States, which formed it, I think rightly rely on the effectiveness of the organization and future positive results. A number of other CIS states stated about their desire to join the Customs Union. This is another, higher level of integration, given the fact that by 2012 Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia plan to create a single economic space. This dynamic clearly meets the interests of the Commonwealth.
Q:How will creation of the CIS Anti-crisis fund help to develop the economies of the Commonwealth?
A: The need for financial support of the CIS countries, especially the states most affected by the crisis, of course, is big. Today Anti-crisis Fund (with a capital of 10 billion dollars), which included five states has been established within the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) for financial assistance. Joining of other CIS states to the Fund, which aren't the members of the ECC, is not ruled out.
Ideas of effective use of the CIS Intergovernmental bank to finance investment projects within the Commonwealth are being worked out.
These steps, along with the joint actions of the Commonwealth to solve the consequences of the global financial crisis, will certainly contribute to the development of national economies of the CIS countries.
Q: At what stage is the development of the Treaty on the free trade zone of the CIS states?
A: A working group consisting of the CIS countries' representatives has been created to prepare a draft of this important treaty. It has already held its three meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for March 23-24, 2010. The CIS countries have presented their proposals to be considered at the working group's meetings.
Adoption of the Treaty on the free trade zone will create a united legal base that meets modern requirements for full-scale liberalization of trade within the Commonwealth, to implement the coordinated steps for establishing the tariff and customs policy, eliminate barriers existing in mutual trade.
The operations on the draft of the document are envisaged to be completed in 2010.