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The presidents of Ukraine and Azerbaijan will not attend the Commonwealth
The presidents of Ukraine and Azerbaijan will not attend the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit in Kyrgyzstan on Friday, the Central Asian state's envoy to the post-Soviet alliance said Thursday.

Lidiya Imanaliyeva said Ukraine would be represented by National Security and Defense Council officials, and Azerbaijan by its prime minster.

Ukraine plunged deeper into a political crisis as President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved parliament late Wednesday and set an early poll for December 7, the third since the 2004 "Orange Revolution" that brought him to power.

Imanaliyeva said Azerbaijan's leader, Ilkham Aliyev, was sending his prime minister as he was campaigning to win a second term in the October 15 presidential elections.

Kyrgyzstan holds the organization's rotating presidency this year.

The CIS comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine is a founding and participating country but technically not a member state. Turkmenistan holds associate status.

Georgia notified the CIS executive committee of its desire to quit the Russian-dominated organization on August 18, 2008 after a five-day war with Russia over the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Its withdrawal will come into effect next August.

The CIS leaders are expected to discuss an economic development strategy until 2020.


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