Monomakh Beat CIS Colleagues

MONOMAKH BEAT CIS COLLEAGUES
by Natalia Antipova

WPS Agency
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
July 22, 2009 Wednesday
Russia

INFORMAL CIS SUMMIT: NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT; CIS presidents met at
the hippodrome to discuss political issues.

The Presidential Cup Races in Moscow last Saturday were anything
but mundane.

Presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan,
Moldova, and leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia arrived for
the races.

President Dmitry Medvedev met with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan
Nazarbayev even before the races. International issues were discussed
and specifically the Customs Union which Nazarbayev regarded as
"number one issue" on the bilateral agenda. "I’m convinced that the
Customs Union will be fully functional on January 1. A serious step
closer to integration as it is, other CIS countries display interest
in the Customs Union," Nazarbayev said.

When the races were on, Medvedev had a tete-a-tete talk with his
Tajik opposite number Emomali Rakhmon.

The principal meeting took place a bit later. Without waiting
for the races to be over, Medvedev with Azerbaijani and Armenian
leaders retreated to seclusion of a Moscow restaurant. That Dmitry
Medvedev, Ilham Aliyev, and Serj Sargsjan needed privacy to discuss
Nagorno-Karabakh needn’t be said. "A lengthy and, we believe,
constructive meeting took place. Certain issues still unresolved were
discussed," Presidential Aide Sergei Prikhodko would later say.

As a matter of fact, Sargsjan and Aliyev had met in Moscow without
Medvedev before the meeting in a restaurant. Russian chairman of the
OSCE Minsk Group called the meeting "specific and serious". The three
presidents will be meeting again, this autumn.

As for Rakhmon, Medvedev will meet with him before that – during the
visit to Tajikistan in the near future. "I consider it an element of
preparations for the working visit," Medvedev said.

Never a man to be told twice, Rakhmon promised elevation of the
bilateral relations to "a particularly fine level."

CIS leaders in the meantime will also meet at the summits of the
CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization in Kyrgyzstan and the
Commonwealth itself in Moldova later this year. Whether or not
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko decides to attend them
remains to be seen. The races in Moscow he chose to ignore.

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