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Russia: CIS Leaders End Summit Without Joint Statement

Moscow, 29 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Leaders of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member-nations ended a one-day summit in Moscow today without any agreements. The summit was expected to discuss restructuring the grouping of 12 former Soviet republics. The CIS was set up following the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union but cooperation between its members has stalled in recent years. The summit decided to leave reorganizing the CIS to an interstate forum to be held in Moscow no later than July. CIS leaders today confirmed Russian President Boris Yeltsin as chairman of the heads-of-state council until 2000. They also named Russian business tycoon Boris Berezovsky as CIS executive secretary. But Yeltsin's spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told Interfax that following the interstate forum all heads of CIS working bodies, including the executive secretary, will be re-confirmed.

The appointment of Berezovsky, whose business interests range from oil to the media, drew sharp criticism from Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov. Zyuganov was quoted by Interfax as saying Berezovsky's appointment shows that Yeltsin "totally neglects public opinion."

Meanwhile, Boris Nemtsov, who was reappointed to Russia's government yesterday as deputy prime minister, said today he will head the country's gas and oil sector as part of his job.

A statement released on Nemtsov's Internet web site today said that as part of his new duties in the government Nemtsov "will be in charge of issues of fuel and energy complex and activities of natural monopolies."

Nemtsov, a leading reformer in the Russian government, controlled the energy sector last year before Yeltsin took away the extra powers from the deputy prime ministers. Nemtsov is the only Russian minister to set up his own web site --