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The Russian government mulls over questions on ditching various preferences for Georgia and Ukraine within the CIS
The Russian government mulls over questions on ditching various preferences for Georgia and Ukraine within the CIS, said an unidentified official of the Russian government in connection with statements by Georgian and Ukrainian leaders on a possible withdrawal of their countries from the Commonwealth. The source noted that Russia would undoubtedly review in this case many agreements and understandings, concluded within the Commonwealth, including in the social sphere. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili admitted on Sunday an intention of his country’s leadership “to hold consultations with friendly countries within the CIS concerning the future of the Commonwealth”. He noted that “somebody threatened that if we quit the CIS, the cost of energy carriers will be increased for us”. “But these things have nothing to do between themselves: the Baltic countries are not CIS members, but they pay approximately the same sums for energy carrier deliveries as Georgia pays, taking into account transportation expenses,” he noted. On May 2, Saakashvili instructed the Georgian cabinet “to study the question on economic expediency of his country’s further stay in the CIS and to submit an exact feasibility report over the next two months whether Georgia should stay in the CIS”. On May 5, adviser of the Ukrainian president Konstantin Timoshenko admitted that the country’s leadership also examines the question on Ukraine’s possible withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Independent States, although “it is not a pressing item on the agenda”. At the same time, he pointed to Kiev’s interest in fulfilling numerous agreements, concluded within the Commonwealth. Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Ogryzko expressed opinion that Ukraine does not get real results from its participation in the CIS. According to the deputy minister, “the Commonwealth has turned into a club which discusses, but not resolves specific questions”. “This cannot suit the country, making an annual contribution to the operation of the Commonwealth, totaling one million US dollars,” the deputy minister stressed.
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