CIS executive secretary proposes that Belarus assume CIS chairmanship


Sergei Lebedev, executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) proposed Thursday that Belarus should hold the CIS chairmanship in 2014 instead of Ukraine, which has decided to step down.

Mr. Lebedev, a former chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, made the proposal while meeting in Minsk with Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey.

“The Belarusian side took note of this initiative of the CIS Executive Committee with understanding and promised that it would promptly consider it in the spirit of our country’s constructive participation in integration processes in the post-Soviet region,” reported the press office of the Belarusian foreign ministry.

According to the press office, Messrs. Makey and Lebedev discussed preparations for a meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers, which is scheduled to take place in Moscow on April 4.

Ukraine announced its decision to step down as the CIS chairmanship on March 19.

Yevhen Perebyinis, spokesman for the Ukrainian foreign ministry, said that Ukraine was giving up the CIS chairmanship because some of the CIS member countries supported Russia's annexation of Crimea, thus violating the CIS creation agreement. //BelaPAN