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Expanded meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State

October 11, 2017, Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon again.

Welcome to this expanded meeting.

The  CIS heads of state have had an in-depth discussion of all areas of our cooperation and have agreed on the procedure for this meeting. Welcome to Sochi, all of you.

I am pleased to give the floor to President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, the country that will assume the rotating chairmanship of our organisation on January 1, 2018. The next speaker will be the President of Turkmenistan, which will take over the CIS chairmanship in 2019.

Mr Rahmon, if you please.

President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon: Mr Chairman, colleagues,

I would first of all like to express our gratitude to the Russian side and to President Vladimir Putin for the warm welcome and excellent organisation of the summit.

Our agenda covers pressing issues, and we welcome the corresponding decisions that have been adopted.

We are grateful for your support for the decision to pass the Commonwealth chairmanship to the Republic of Tajikistan. We have worked out a concept for Tajikistan’s chairmanship and a plan for its implementation. The priorities of our chairmanship will be directed toward ensuring continuity in the Commonwealth and bolstering the results achieved to date.

As for economic cooperation, our efforts will be aimed at carrying out the measures planned to implement the third stage of the CIS Economic Development Strategy until 2020.

In the energy sector, our priority will be to intensify cooperation in energy saving technologies and to restore the parallel operation of the CIS countries’ energy systems. We also intend to promote cooperation in renewable energy.

In transport, we will pay particular attention to the achievement of 2020 CIS cooperation priorities in this area. We believe it is important to raise our countries’ cooperation in cargo transit, automobile and railway transportation to a qualitatively new level.

As for agriculture, our main concern will be promoting food security. Strengthening cooperation in the agro-industrial sector requires better logistics and the implementation of projects to apply innovative approaches in various spheres.

One important task is fostering cooperation in social and labour relations and migration.

In the humanitarian sphere, our work will be focused on coordinating efforts in science, education, culture, health care and information. We consider it important to give qualitatively new content to our youth programmes, develop cooperation in physical fitness and sport and expand tourism ties.

Appropriate attention will be given to implementing the interstate innovation cooperation programme through 2020.

In ecology and environmental protection, efforts will continue to develop appropriate documents and programmes to improve the environment and prevent emergency situations.

We believe it makes sense to deepen cooperation in effectively responding to natural and man-made emergency situations.

Security and stability will remain priorities during Tajikistan’s presidency. We will do our utmost to facilitate the practical implementation of the decisions and policy documents adopted within the framework of the Commonwealth on dealing with global threats and challenges: terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and other kinds of transnational organised crime.

Efforts to streamline the work of CIS bodies will continue based on the general provision regarding CIS sectoral cooperation agencies and the implementation of the decision by the Heads of State Council on adapting the CIS to modern realities.

We intend to work along these lines in close contact with CIS member states and the CIS Executive Committee. I hope that our joint efforts will help consolidate multidimensional ties between our countries in the Commonwealth format.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

Mr Berdimuhamedov, the President of Turkmenistan, please.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov: Colleagues,

Allow me to thank President of Russia Vladimir Putin for the invitation to attend the session of the CIS Heads of State and for his hospitality.

As you know, we have considered very important issues during this meeting. Therefore, first of all, I would like to say a few words about our political cooperation.

We respect cooperation with CIS states and regard it as the most important component of the external relations of all Commonwealth countries. At the same time, I consider it appropriate to draw special attention to the need to enhance the level of mutual trust between our countries. In this context, it is necessary to strengthen political and diplomatic cooperation, using the great potential of the CIS countries’ foreign policy agencies. Systemic, regular consultations between foreign ministries could become an essential instrument in dealing with an array of issues that have accumulated in the Commonwealth space.

In addition, it is certainly necessary to upgrade the level of cooperation within the framework of international organisations, such as the UN and the  OSCE, and try to combine the CIS countries’ efforts at influential international organisations in the interest of achieving the goals on the international agenda. At the same time, it is important to bear in mind that the Commonwealth has extensive experience of participation in the activity of global and regional organisations. For instance, it must not be forgotten that the CIS is the UN’s official partner and is also actively involved in the activities of the OSCE, the  SCO and other international associations and formats.

Taking all of this into account, I believe it would be appropriate to instruct the foreign ministries of our states to work out a medium-term programme of action designed to invigorate our political and diplomatic partnership.

Another important point is of course making our trade and economic cooperation more focused. In this context, I would like to note that the CIS, with its great potential, should be more energetically and comprehensively integrating into the global economy as a space where transport and energy projects are being implemented and modern infrastructure and interregional logistics centers are being put in place.

I believe it is time to take effective steps in this direction. I am sure that this meets both our common interests and the interests of each country in particular.

Needless to say, this task will require developing new approaches toward joint efforts. In this regard, based on the years-long experience of the CIS in economic cooperation, we could consider the possibility of creating effective partnership mechanisms, allowing us not only to foster economic ties within the framework of the Commonwealth but also to take them to a continental level – that is, to an intercontinental level. I am sure that this approach will supplement the forms of economic cooperation that have already evolved and are working effectively in the Commonwealth states.

Overall, I would like to stress that, taking into account its neutral and associated member status in the CIS, Turkmenistan is committed to closer participation in mutually beneficial political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties to strengthen cooperation, which is in the interest of our peoples and nations.

I would like to express deep appreciation to the Russian Federation for its effective work as this year’s CIS chair. And it is with great respect that we endorse Tajikistan’s candidacy for this post in 2018. We respectfully thank the Executive Committee for supporting Turkmenistan’s 2018 co-chairmanship.

Allow me once again to thank you, Mr Putin, for your hospitality.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

We have also agreed to give the floor to Ms Matvienko on how to improve the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly activities and adapt them to modern realities. Please.

Chairperson of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly Council, Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvienko: Mr President,

Heads of state and delegation leaders,

First, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak today about the activity of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly and how it is adapting to modern realities.

The Interparliamentary Assembly is always looking for ways to efficiently use the parliamentary, legal and political instruments at its disposal to provide a legal base for meeting the challenges facing the Commonwealth and to protect our common interests in the international arena.

Improving and, most importantly, harmonising national legislations by drafting and adopting model laws is of key importance for further economic and humanitarian cooperation within the CIS. Since it was founded 25 years ago, the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly has passed over 380 regulatory acts and codes. This year alone, we passed 14 of them. This work involves members of all parliaments, experts and scientists from CIS nations and is very important for these countries. The majority of the model laws have been either fully or partially implemented into national law. We regularly monitor the situation and work to reflect present-day realities in the model legislation as fully and accurately as possible, with due respect for the universally recognised norms of international law.

Another important mission of the Interparliamentary Assembly is to make sure that parliaments implement all the decisions of CIS supreme bodies – the Council of Heads of State and the Council of Heads of Government. Primarily this concerns the implementation of inter-state programmes. Between 2011 and 2016, the Interparliamentary Assembly was involved in implementing 16 such programmes. Documents that the Interparliamentary Assembly prepared formed the basis for 27 treaties and agreements currently in effect in the CIS. We can see how this area of our activity can be further improved, and are working to achieve this aim.

Efforts by the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (IPA) to monitor presidential and parliamentary elections in the CIS countries have generated a huge response around the world. For many decades the main institution that was empowered to judge whether elections in sovereign countries were democratic or not was the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). We all know only too well the ODIHR’s politicised assessments and adherence to double standards. The IPA’s consistent and vigorous efforts have eroded the monopoly of the ODIHR, which has lost its status as supreme arbiter in this very important area.

The international community takes into account our objective legal assessments and conclusions about the results of elections. We have established cooperation in this area with our partners and colleagues from other international parliamentary institutions. We are committed to continuing active participation in election monitoring.

Adapting to new realities requires integration with international institutions. I believe we have put a lot of effort into achieving this. Today, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly is a recognised authoritative international organisation. We are cooperating with the United Nations Organisation and its agencies, as well as with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other international organisations. We are an associated member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In all, over 70 agreements on cooperation have been signed. This is not a declaration of intention – far from it. The Assembly is carrying out a lot of concrete work, taking part in international parliamentary forums to set out the CIS’s approaches to and view of different issues, introduce specific proposals and resolutions on how to resolve critical issues, challenges and threats, as well as defend, whenever necessary, the CIS countries from unfair criticism and politically motivated assessments and we are consolidating our efforts in this area.

We hold important international events at the IPA headquarters jointly with our foreign partners. This year, one major event was the Parliamentary Conference on Fighting International Terrorism: participants included delegations from the parliamentary assemblies of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the CIS.

The 14th European Conference of Electoral Management Bodies has received a great response. To hold it, our Assembly had partnered with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and Russia’s Central Electoral Commission.

The development of humanitarian cooperation is making good progress. The IPA-sponsored International Ecological Forum and the Eurasian Women’s Forum are recognised around the world. Over this period, we have created the CIS Youth Assembly that has also immediately started buzzing with activity.

All this points to the growing interest in the IPA in the world and consolidation of its prestige. This also shows that work in cooperation with international institutions and their agencies is becoming in current conditions particularly important for promoting common interests and joint CIS positions in the international community. We will enhance our efforts in this area.

In three days, on October 14, the 137th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) – the oldest and largest international parliamentary organisation – will start its work in the IPA Headquarters in Tavrichesky Palace in St Petersburg. It unites parliaments of 173 states and 11 international parliamentary organisations. MPs of 154 states have already confirmed their participation in the forum. By now, almost 2,500 participants have been registered. About 100 national delegations are headed by their Speakers. Thus, the 137th IPU Assembly is expected to become the most representative and record-breaking in IPU history both in the number of participating parliaments and the level of representation.

The IPA will take a most active part in the work of the Assembly. Our delegation will do all it can for the forum to facilitate the restoration of the atmosphere of friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation in international relations.

I must make the following point. The IPA and its Headquarters in Tavrichesky Palace have become a venue for CIS MPs, where they exchange experience and learn more about each other. We, Speakers of CIS parliaments, meet in this place twice a year. We have an opportunity to discuss common problems, and agree on things. And we are simply friends, which helps our work just as that of the presidents of CIS states. If we did not have this venue for communication between CIS MPs, it would be a huge loss.

In conclusion, I would like to say that in the quarter of a century of its history the IPA has demonstrated its ability to adapt well to the changing realities and keep up with the times. At the same time, we see what we must improve in our work and our activities on the basis of the accumulated experience of equitable and constructive cooperation.

We will be grateful to the Council of Heads of State for recommendations, advice and proposals on enhancing the effectiveness of the IPA work. We will take them into account by all means.

I would like to thank personally the President of Turkmenistan for the invitation to hold one IPA meeting in his country. We are grateful to you and will be pleased to do this.

We are ready to actively facilitate the implementation of the tasks set forth by CIS states and their heads of state.

Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Ms Matviyenko.

Colleagues,

Before we proceed to sign the documents, I would like to note that they are all the result of our active and very constructive political dialogue, our ongoing efforts to advance regional integration and expand security, economic and cultural cooperation.

Meetings of the Council of the Heads of State primarily focus on the economy. As such, I would like to say that this year we have seen the recovery of economic activity between our countries. In particular, trade has increased by 25 percent to reach $75 billion.

Ensuring further stable growth of trade requires further improving free trade regulations within the Commonwealth, consistently removing obstacles to the movement of goods and services, and simplifying customs procedures, including through cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Considering that this year was declared the Year of Family in the CIS, today we will adopt a joint statement in support of traditional family values. Other countries sharing the principles enshrined in the document are welcome to join it as well.

We will continue the practice of themed years as part of CIS cultural cooperation. Resolutions have been drafted to declare 2019 the Year of Books and, as we discussed during the restricted format meeting, 2020 will be the Year of the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the  Great Patriotic War. This special date for our peoples deserves special commemoration.

It is important that the CIS states adhere to similar positions on key global and regional matters, and advocate the building of a just international order based on generally accepted principles of international law, with the central role played by the United Nations.

Of course, I would like to wish good luck to the leadership of Tajikistan with the responsibility of CIS chairmanship. Mr Rahmon, we are always at your disposal. As co-chairing states, Russia and Turkmenistan are ready to provide all the necessary support and assistance.

Thank you for your attention. Now let us proceed to the signing.

(Signing of the documents.)

Colleagues, the documents are signed. I would like to thank everybody and express my hope that we will continue our cooperation in the same positive spirit. Now we will delegate Mr Lebedev to speak to the press, while I invite you to our official social events.

Thank you.

October 11, 2017, Sochi