Kocharian Visits Kazakhstan for CIS Summit

YEREVAN–Armenian President Robert Kocharian left for Alma Ata–the former capital of Kazakhstan–on February 28 to take part in the non-official meeting of the presidents of the CIS countries.

According to the Russian president’s press service–Vladimir Putin is expected to have a private conversation with Kocharian during the meetings in Alma Ata.

President of Azerbaijan Haydar Aliyev will not take part in this meeting–as he had stopped in London on his Washington-Baku way to visit his daughter.

Kocharian was met at the airport at Alma Ata by the Minister of State Profits of Kazakhstan Kakimzhanov. After his arrival–a private conversation between the Armenian president and his Turkmen counterpart Safarmurad Niyazov took place at the Ankara Hotel. During the meeting issues concerning the bilateral relations and cooperation within CIS framework were discussed.

The unofficial meeting of CIS countries’ leaders will begin on March 1 at 10 a.m. Within the framework of the forum a number of bilateral meetings are planned to be held. After the forum–the leaders of CIS countries will meet with reporters.

Kocharian will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday. A meeting with President Kocharian with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze is also expected.

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian has already met with his counterpart from Moldova and he will meet with the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan on March 1. President Kocharian is also scheduled to visit the Armenian Embassy in Kazakhstan.

The Armenian delegation will return to Armenia late March 1.

First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Dmitry Bulakhov said at the informal summit of the heads of state of the CIS member-countries there will be no official agenda.

According to him–the format of meetings "without neckties presupposes that the sides raise questions which interest them in the hope that these issues will attract the attention of other leaders."

The leaders of the Commonwealth–Bulakhov said–will most probably exchange opinions on the regional situation. Most likely they will speak about efficient economic integration within the framework of the CIS. It is expected that Kazakhstan will raise a question of forming an energy alliance of the CIS countries. And with the proposal of the Russian side–the leaders will possibly discuss the results of the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and its influence on the situation in the Commonwealth.

The question of combating the drug threat could be raised again as well. This theme was discussed at the summit in Yalta in 2001. It is quite possible that the leaders will also consider migration processes within the framework of the CIS. In Bulakhov’s opinion–each president will make use of the informal summit to talk with other heads of state about bilateral and multilateral relations that interest them.

Bulakhov also stated that all the CIS heads of state have confirmed their presence at the summit in Alma Ata. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) consists of twelve former republics of the Soviet Union–except the Baltic republics.


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