Post-Soviet leaders set for security, economic summits

Iran Materials 23 June 2006 12:11 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Leaders from member countries of two post-Soviet organizations focusing on economic matters and security will gather in the Belarusian capital Friday for meetings that should determine key priorities.

A summit of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec) - a club comprising Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus - will review the organization's economic policy, the establishment of a customs union and adopt a document on bolstering of Eurasec's positions on the international arena, reports Trend.

"The main focus will be on the establishment of a customs union," a Kremlin source said, adding that the participants would discuss proposals on several budget issues and the accession of Eurasec member countries to the World Trade Organization.

The five members of Eurasec, set up in 2000, agreed in January to admit Uzbekistan into the organization, which also includes Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine as observers. The leaders will discuss the preparation of documents that establish a legal basis for the Central Asian republics' Eurasec membership.

The leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan - will focus on sweeping reforms of the regional security organization and set priorities for future activities. They will also discuss current developments on its territory and in neighboring regions, including Afghanistan and Iran.

Nikolai Bordyuzha, the secretary-general of the post-Soviet security group, said in May that the CSTO summit would make decisions during the summit on forming its own peacekeeping forces, collective forces to tackle emergency situations and a number of auxiliary bodies to combat extremism and illegal migration.

Russia's defense minister said Thursday that the CSTO, founded in 2002, should be able to provide a rapid and appropriate response to all kinds of dangers, not only military ones.

"The CSTO should be able to quickly react to all existing threats," Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, told a news conference. He also said that a joint Russian-Belarusian exercise currently under way in Belarus, Union Shield 2006, was not aimed against any particular country or military bloc.

The Kremlin source said the participants would also assess the joint efforts of the CSTO to combat the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons and adopt the text of a statement prepared for the UN conference on this issue.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the current chairman of the CSTO's Collective Security Council, will attend both summits.