Putin praises CIS, advocates stronger role for org.

Other News Materials 10 May 2006 17:27 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - An alliance of former Soviet republics has contributed to partnership in the region and helped prevent several conflicts since the collapse of the Soviet Union, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

His remarks came in the wake of recent speculation over the future of the Commonwealth of Independent States, after the Georgian foreign minister said Sunday his country and Ukraine are in consultations on leaving the organization, reports Trend.

"The Commonwealth of Independent States has allowed partnership to be maintained between our countries and played positive role to contain a series of conflicts on the post-Soviet space," Putin said in his annual state of the nation address. "We will continue our peacekeeping mission with full responsibility."

"Together we are solving many problems, which cannot be solved by a third party," Putin said, adding that economic and security issues could be addressed more effectively within the framework of multilateral partnership.

Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili said Sunday Georgia and Ukraine were considering what benefits could be gained from staying in the organization.

"We have already started consultations with Ukraine on withdrawal from the CIS. We recently discussed with a group of Ukrainian representatives in Tbilisi the entire range of our relations with the CIS and the benefits, if any, of our countries' stay

within the organization," Bezhuashvili said.

Putin said economic development for each CIS member was a priority for the regional alliance, which comprises Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

"Russia is ready to clearly announce a final goal ... the creation of an optimal economic system that would allow highly effective solutions, including in the economic and security spheres," Putin said adding that humanitarian cooperation, based on new socio-economic trends, was also a top priority.

"Notwithstanding other areas, I should highlight strengthening of the common humanitarian space," he said.