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  Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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An informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),
An informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an alliance of ex-Soviet republics, could take place in St. Petersburg in June, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on Friday.

"We hope a meeting of CIS heads of state will take place on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in early June, when the leaders arrive in the city, and we will coordinate our visions of the plan for the development of the CIS," Andrei Denisov said.

Founded in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the alliance was initially seen as a body to allow a 'civilized divorce' between the Soviet republics, but the group does have coordinating powers in trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. Its main goal is the establishment of a free trade zone between member-states.

Some of its members, however, especially Georgia and Ukraine, have drifted to the West in recent years. Those countries' governments have criticized Russia's domineering role in the alliance.

Denisov also said the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers would hold a session in Moscow on March 28 to prepare the Council of Prime Ministers due in Belarus's capital Minsk on May 23. The leaders of the 11 former Soviet states will meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on September 26.


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