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Ukraine's Foreign Minister Says CIS 'Ineffective'

Borys Tarasyuk, Ukraine's foreign minister (file photo) (epa) April 21, 2006 -- Ukraine's foreign minister today described the 12-member Commonwealth of Independent Republics (CIS) as "ineffective."

Borys Tarasyuk told a meeting of CIS foreign ministers in Moscow that "dozens, hundreds of its decisions are not being carried out."

Earlier today, the ministers declined to put on their agenda a Ukrainian request to recognize the 1930s famine as genocide.

Tarasyuk said the request was rejected by Russia and four other countries (Belarus, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan), while Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan supported it. The others -- Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan -- abstained.

He said this showed that Russia is seeking to assume the mantle of the Soviet Union, while avoiding responsibility for Soviet-era crimes.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the famine was a matter for historians, not politicians.

(ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AP)