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Informal meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State took place in the Kremlin

December 20, 2011, The Kremlin, Moscow

Following the meeting, the CIS heads of state adopted a joint declaration and signed a number of documents.

* * *

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues,

In opening today’s informal meeting, I would like to thank all of you who have come to Moscow to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Mr Almazbek Atambayev is participating in our summit for the first time. We congratulate him again and wish him success in his job as President of Kyrgyzstan. We hope that our Kyrgyzstani friends will join our active work within the framework of the  CIS.

We say many things about the CIS. Clearly, over the course of the last 20 years, the Commonwealth has had a very difficult path of development. We are different nations with varying economic conditions, and our cultures are both close and, at the same time, distinct. But these cultures have not only shown the ability to understand each other very well, but also to cooperate efficiently on a voluntary, equitable and mutually beneficial basis.

The CIS has become an important stability factor in the post-Soviet space, and has truly become an influential regional alliance, even despite the costs that I suppose have always been there and which remain today. Together, we managed to do a great deal.

Today we will discuss our prospects, as well as new projects that we may all fulfil.

* * *

Colleagues, I don’t think I have anything to add, because your heartfelt, emotional words stand alone in characterising the era that has fallen on our shoulders, these last twenty years.

When you were just speaking about your emotions, I also recalled what was happening to me on this day. What happened is that I left one nation, which was called the USSR, and flew to Germany. And when I came back, I returned to a fundamentally different situation, one in which our common state was no longer.

I won’t deny that I, too, felt very strong emotions. But what’s most important is that today, we are sitting at this table, that we are friends, and that we are ready to develop our kind-hearted relations.

And the Commonwealth of Independent States serves this goal. It is the platform that has brought us together and which, I am sure, will help us for many years to come in resolving a wide variety of challenges to ensure that our nations develop and that our people feel close and needed, so that they are simply friends.

December 20, 2011, The Kremlin, Moscow