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Belarus: CIS Summit Begins

Minsk, 1 December 2000 (RFE/RL) - Leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will meet today for a summit in Minsk. Eleven of the 12 CIS leaders are expected to attend. Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov said earlier this week that he would not make the trip. He said Turkmenistan has no special interest in the CIS summit agenda, preferring instead to deal with the former Soviet republics on a bilateral basis.

He said the CIS focus on joint counterterrorism measures would be incompatible with Turkmenistan's neutrality.

A top item on today's agenda is funding for an anti-terrorist center, which the CIS leaders agreed to set up in June. Other topics expected to be discussed include a draft agreement on cooperation against drug trafficking and a document intended to boost cooperation between tax police structures in the CIS.

The CIS has failed to implement most of its decisions since it was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union.