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Anniversary CIS Summit took place in Tajik capital

September 3, 2011, Dushanbe

The CIS leaders took stock of 20 years of cooperation. After the talks, CIS heads of state adopted a package of documents on cooperation within the CIS, as well as an agreement to perpetuate the memory of the Commonwealth nations that fought in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945.

During restricted and expanded sessions, the summit’s participants reviewed the draft assessment report “CIS Achievements in the Past 20 Years and Future Objectives” and discussed the further development of the CIS, in particular the Action Plan on the Implementation of Relevant Concepts. In addition, the parties exchanged views on a number of topical international issues.

The summit’s participants adopted a package of documents on cooperation within the CIS in various areas, including improvement of the air defence system and migration policy, and agreement to perpetuate the memory of the Commonwealth nations that fought in the Great Patriotic War.

In 2012, the rotating presidency of the CIS will go to Turkmenistan and the next meeting of the CIS heads of state will be held in Ashgabat.

* * *

Speech at the meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Russian Federation I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the President of Tajikistan for ensuring such excellent conditions for our meetings and the wonderful dinner yesterday that made it so hard to work today. Russia also joins in the warm greetings to Tajikistan we heard earlier in connection with the upcoming event, the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence.

A great deal has already been said about the past 20 years: we talked about it during dinner yesterday and have reviewed our achievements today. We have seen the assessment report “CIS Achievements of the Past 20 Years and Objectives for the Future”. I think it is an extensive and valuable document, which reflects the results of our joint efforts.

We are all aware of the problems that exist in the CIS. The Commonwealth has sometimes come under criticism, described as amorphous and weak in the implementation of the adopted obligations. We have just heard Mr Nazarbayev express a similar view.

Much of what has been said is fair and right. However, Russia believes this does not detract from the organisation’s value for us or from its historical role in maintaining stability in the post-Soviet space.

In my opinion, we have arrived at an optimal multi-format and multi-level cooperation style based on how we see the future of our countries, which provides flexibility and gives the member states an opportunity to take part depending on their degree of interest and the wish to reach consensus.

I do not believe that we can aspire to some other organisation parameters, but as we said yesterday, nobody knows what the future holds and nobody knows what will happen in 10 or 20 years. Perhaps we will all live to see a different degree of integration within the CIS.

In 2007 we adopted the concept of the Commonwealth’s further development and identified strategic areas of cooperation. I believe that is absolutely right. We have a shared history and a shared cultural heritage. It is highly gratifying that a great deal is being done on the theme of our countries’ participation in the Great Patriotic War. I think this is a subject that must always unite us and no alternative assessments are acceptable in this regard.

We have a tool at our disposal that may be technical but it is important: the working language of the Commonwealth, which is Russian. It remains a means of international communication, which helps us to address shared issues. We will continue our efforts within the CIS to promote the knowledge of the Russian language; this does not in any way diminish the importance of national languages, which are vital for every nation.

In other words, there is no alternative to the CIS as a single existing platform to ensure the interaction of the interested states in all possible spheres of cooperation. I can assure you that the position of the Russian Federation will remain unchanged. That is why the Russian Federation has taken part in relevant events at the highest level.

One last thing I would like to say: I will be very happy to see all the CIS leaders at the end of the year in Moscow at the informal summit dedicated to the organisation’s 20th anniversary. Formal invitations will be sent out through diplomatic channels in the near future.

The experience accumulated by the CIS and the willingness to deepen integration promotes new forms of cooperation, which are well known to all of you. Naturally, we are involved in their development, and this is probably also right, bearing in mind that the CIS remains a multi-format and multi-level venue; therefore, I believe the formation of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan can ultimately enrich the activities of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

We will continue our efforts in this area, as well as within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which also creates a certain potential and characteristics that can be used in the CIS format, if relevant statements are made; I am referring to experience and regulatory framework. In this context, I think that recently we have made some progress in terms of achieving greater solidarity within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

There is one more issue I would like to raise. It is a theme that unites us and, unfortunately, often becomes painful: the organisation of election observations and referendums in our countries. During 2010–2011, there have already been eight elections: in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan. By the end of the year, elections will be held in Kyrgyzstan and Russia, and in 2012 in Turkmenistan, Armenia and Ukraine. What is the main issue here?

Observers are sent by the ODIHR [Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights], and as a rule these delegations are huge. The international observers who come from OSCE [Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe] sometimes openly show a politicised approach to the assessment of the preparation and holding of elections. That approach – let us be honest about it – is often based on double standards.

It is enough to note that in some countries, even those that have certain problems, the ODIHR delegations are made up of 10–15 people whereas we get delegations of 300–500 people. I think that we have a long-established and effective system of monitoring elections in the CIS; there is also a group of observers from the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, and the work of these observers is based on a clear legal framework.

Therefore, I believe it is important to ensure a more active role of CIS delegations in observing elections in our states. This will benefit our countries and will be a better way towards democracy and the full development of the political systems in our states.

Naturally, we are committed to holding free and democratic elections but it does not open the way for any outside power to influence the internal situation in our countries, and therefore I propose that we strengthen cooperation in this area.

We have decided that the rotating presidency in the CIS will go to Turkmenistan. I would like to take this opportunity to wish President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov every success. We are very happy about this decision and hope that next year will be equally rigorous.

Finally, on behalf of the Russian Federation I would like to once again congratulate all of you on the 20th anniversary of the CIS, an international platform that has no equal.

September 3, 2011, Dushanbe