CIS Executive Secretary Arrives in Armenia for Talks

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–CIS Executive Secretary Yuri Yarov arrived in Armenia on a one-day working visit on December 21. At the airport he was met by Armenia’s representative to the CIS Suren Haroutiunian and Russian Ambassador to Armenia Anatoly Driukov.

The main goal of Yarov’s tour of the region is to make preparations for the CIS summit planned for January. The summit–which is slated for January 20–may be postponed for a short period of time at the request of Azerbaijan’s leadership.

Yarov declined to comment on the parliamentary elections in Russia and their possible consequences when asked if changes in CIS structures might occur with the establishment of the Russia-Belarus union and the formation of a right-wing majority in the Russian State Duma loyal to prime minister Vladimir Putin. Russia’s union with Belarus–he said–is based on a mutual accord and will not affect the CIS structure.

"The Russia-Belarus Union has long-term perspectives," Yarov said. "No changes in the CIS and its structure are being made at this stage."

According to Yarov–changes to the CIS will be made after the organization and related processes develop. "Today we speak about a free trade zone," said Yarov–"which could naturally create new levers of economic cooperation and new mechanisms. If the problem of the free trade zone establishment is solved–a single economic space is likely to be created in the future and new rules of cooperation will likely be applied."

Yarov came to Yerevan from Tbilisi after a four-hour delay. Asked if the delay in the visit schedule was the result of differences in relations with the Georgian leaders–the CIS official said: "There were no differences. We had a warm–sincere talk–and there were no unsolvable problems." Yarov stressed that Georgian leaders–primarily the president–expressed readiness to help solve problems raised by the CIS Secretariat. "We even agreed on two variants of terms for holding the summit and despite the fact that January 25 is Shevardnadze’s birthday–he agreed on holding the summit on this very day."

Yarov also met with Armenian president Robert Kocharian.

Yarov reportedly informed the president of the fulfillment of decisions made by the Council of CIS Heads of State and Heads of Government.

The two discussed issues pertaining to CIS development and reforms of the Commonwealth’s executive structures. They also addressed the establishment of a free trade zone and considered a number of other organizational matters.

The CIS Executive Secretary presented the agenda of the next summit of the CIS to be held in Moscow next month.

Yarov also visited Catholicos of All Armenian Karekin II in Etchmiadzin.

The CIS official congratulated the Supreme Patriarch on his election as Catholicos of All Armenia’s and hoped that Karekin II would make his contribution to the establishment of fraternity and peace among the CIS countries.

Thanking Yarov for his warm words–His Holiness said that the 70 years of indissoluble ties were a reliable basis for mutual understanding and cooperation among the CIS countries. Today’s troubles and tribulations are the consequence of the lost sense of moral values and the Church sees its mission in restoring these values–His Holiness said.

Yarov presented the major tasks and objectives of the CIS aimed at restoring economic ties and recreating the spirit of peace and unity.

His Holiness wished the guest every success in his important mission.

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