Russian President Suggests Members Of CIS Heads Of State Council Think About Commonwealth Prospects

Russian President Vladimir Putin, opening in the Kremlin a plenary meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit, suggested that members of the Heads of State Council should reflect on future prospects of this inter-state formation. According to Putin, who is chairman of the Council, since the commonwealth was formed "ten most difficult years have passed". The president said he was convinced that "in extent and consequences of the changes these years cannot be compared with other, even century-long historical processes". A real restructuring of the former USSR's space and creation of the CIS are events "whose significance is only going to be assessed by historians and politicians, but our being interested in multilateral integration is understandable already now," Putin said. "The question," he went on, "is only what sort of CIS we want to see now and in the future: either a debating society or a workable association". The Russian president believes that "the geopolitical situation of commonwealth countries and their role in maintaining global stability, which no one has recently doubted is significant if not enormous, all this rules out the earlier dynamism that ill suits us, and the tone of our dealings, let alone weak and little binding coordination mechanisms". "A qualitative transformation of the CIS is a matter of perspective, but the future of the commonwealth is already agitating millions of people in our countries now," Putin said. He remarked that heads of state had ventilated this topic in a narrow format on Friday morning. According to the Russian head of state, the integrative process is an earnest of stability, economic wellbeing and a better life for the ordinary people. "We must of course act together to move in this direction," Putin emphasised.