Year 2008 was most successful for CIS, official says


The year 2008 was the most successful for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Sergei Lebedev, executive secretary of the CIS, told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.

"There are no grounds for rumors that it can disappear or collapse," he stressed.

Mr. Lebedev said that the CIS had adopted a number of important documents this year, mentioning a strategy for the economic development of the CIS until 2020, and agreements on efforts toward "food security" and cooperation in the transport sphere, including the establishment of transit corridors.

He noted that a big amount of attention had been devoted to financial cooperation, which had become especially topical in the global financial crisis. A "Permanent Conference of the Finance Ministers" was set up, Mr. Lebedev said, noting that it had held its first session this past October reaching an agreement to maintain contacts between the finance ministries and central banks for the purpose of taking prompt measures against adverse effects of the crisis.

Mr. Lebedev praised efforts taken within the CIS to strengthen security. "We managed to take well-coordinated steps that helped prevent and detect crimes and strengthened security and controls at the borders of CIS countries," he said.

He acknowledged that there had been "problem issues" as well. When commenting on Georgia's decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth, he said, "Georgia has already announced that it is set to participate in all agreements and documents signed within the CIS in spite of its withdrawal." "If it wishes one day to return to the Commonwealth, the doors will be always open," he added. //BelaPAN