Belarussian president warns against breaking up CIS

MOSCOW, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday warned against attempts to abolish the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and stressed the role the group plays in tackling issues in the post-Soviet space.

"If someone wants to do away with the CIS on the pretext of reforming it, we will not be a party to the process. Belarus will not be involved in destructive tendencies in the commonwealth and is calling on other states to follow this example," Lukashenko was quoted by the Interfax news agency as telling foreign ministers from CIS member countries in Minsk.

The 12-member CIS was set up after the break-up of the Soviet Union to try to maintain economic and political ties. It groups all former Soviet republics except the three Baltic states.

"The CIS is a crucial instrument in tackling issues in the post-Soviet space. But there are people in our organization who are strongly interested in ruining the CIS," Lukashenko said.

Leaders of CIS member states are expected to meet at the end of November in Minsk for a summit that was delayed by more than a month.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that improving and reorganizing the group's activities dominated the discussion in the Belarussian capital and that positive results in CIS reorganization would depend on the political will of its members.