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Putin Elected Head Of CIS

16 September -- The leaders of the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have elected Russian President Vladimir Putin to replace Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma as the chairman of the CIS.

The election occurred today in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, during the 38th summit of the CIS.

Putin is scheduled to brief the summit on his efforts to fight terrorism following the Beslan school hostage tragedy and other terrorist incidents in Russia.

The CIS leaders are then expected to adopt a joint statement on counterterrorism.

The CIS is made up of all the former Soviet republics except the three Baltic states.