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CIS Summit Ends With Appeal To Georgia

Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka stands in his residence as he awaits the arrival of leaders from the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The CIS summit in Minsk has ended with leaders calling on Georgia to rejoin the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Host President Alyaksandr Lukashenka ended the summit on October 25 by saying CIS leaders "would like for Georgia to return to the Commonwealth." Georgia holds presidential elections on October 27 to elect a leader to replace Mikheil Saakashvili, who took his country out of the CIS after the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.

Lukashenka's comments capped a day of discussions dominated by issues of economic cooperation among CIS countries and cooperation in countering transborder threats such as terrorism, narcotics, human trafficking, and cybercrime.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on CIS leaders to develop an economic strategy without waiting for the world economy to fully recover.

The CIS rotating chairmanship passed to Ukraine at the end of the summit.

The summit followed a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Council a day earlier in Minsk, with the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine attending. The main topic was the admission of new members to the CIS Customs Union that currently groups Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

The leaders supported aspirations from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan to join.

Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbaev proposed allowing Turkey and possibly also Syria to join the Customs Union, saying it would make the organization look less like an attempt to reform the old Soviet Union.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax