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CIS Migration Conference React to Action Plan

  • Lisa McAdams

Geneva, May 31 (RFE/RL) -- The co-chairman of the Geneva based CIS Conference on Refugees and Migrants today hailed an expected accord as a roadmap for the dignity and stability of the former Soviet Union and the world as a whole.

Rosa Otonbayeva, who is Kyrgystan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, told RFE/RL that the conference has described in its 27-page plan of action "a clear message" on how to deal with the challenges facing the region, including the more difficult issues of nationality, language laws and human rights.

Otonbayeva's remarks were backed up in yesterday's regional statements by delegates of more than 60 nations and international organizations.

The only signs of possible discontent come from Heino Ainso of Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ainso told RFE/RL today that his reservations -- namely with the special definitions devised for the conference -- are shared by his colleagues from Latvia and Lithuania. Ainso said they do not adequately take into account deported people and other illegal transfers of populations and that complaints will be registered following the conference.

Still, Ainso told our correspondent that Estonia -- for one -- will stand behind the document, the groundwork of which experts say could take up to four years to implement.

A recent United Nations report says the largest and most complex migration movements have taken place in Central Asia and Russia.

Mikhail Lebedev, who heads the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department on international humanitarian cooperation and human rights, told RFE/RL that field activities based upon the plan will begin sooner after the conference. Those activities, Lebedev said, are the assurance that efforts in the past two days will be transformed from dialogue into deeds.