CIS FMs meet in Belarus to prepare for leaders' meeting

A regular meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States' Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) took place in Minsk on October 16.

Matters related to the improvement and reformation of the CIS figured prominently on its agenda. The ministers heard the report of Ural Latypov, the head of the High-Level Panel (Panel of Eminent Persons), on progress in preparing a report on the issues of strengthening the effectiveness of the Commonwealth towards a meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State, scheduled for the end of November.

Questions of reinforcing security and law and order engagement were discussed. Drafts of related cooperation documents were endorsed: a Treaty of the Member States of the Commonwealth to Countering the Legalization of Criminal Proceeds and Financing of Terrorism, an Agreement on the Protection of Judicial Proceedings Participants, and a Statement of the CIS Heads of State on the Intensification of Cooperation in the Struggle Against Illegal Migration. Particular attention was devoted to the block of humanitarian and social issues. Support was given to a Draft Decision of the CIS Council of Heads of State on the Perpetuation of the Celebration of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945, which will be conducive to preserving the memory of the feat of the peoples of the USSR and of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition and strengthening continuity between generations.

There was endorsed a Draft Agreement on Cooperation on the Skill Improvement and Professional Retraining of Specialists envisaging necessary measures to regulate and verify the quality of educational activities, mutual recognition of state-issued certificates and the granting of equal rights to skill improvement and retraining for persons living within the territories of the Commonwealth countries.

The ministers examined certain personnel matters, in particular, those of the Commander of the Collective Peacekeeping Force in the conflict zone in Abkhazia, Georgia, and of a deputy head of the CIS Antiterrorist Center.

A number of documents were signed without discussion. Among them: a Decision on the Implementation of the CIS Development Action Program for the Period till 2005, and a Decision to Set Up a Working Group to Draft an Interstate Target Joint Work Program to Create a Unified System of Accounting for Citizens of Third States and Stateless Persons Entering the Territories of the CIS Member States.

The meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers has again demonstrated the CIS member states' mindset to streamline their multilateral cooperation in various areas. The agreements reached will help to tackle the important problems facing the states of the Commonwealth.