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Commonwealth of Independent States

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional intergovernmental organization focused on cooperation on political, economic, environmental, humanitarian, cultural and other issues between a number of former Soviet Republics.

On December 8, 1991 in Minsk the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed by the heads of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

According to the CIS Charter, the Council of the Heads of State is the supreme body of the Commonwealth, which discusses and resolves fundamental issues related to the activities of member states in the field of their common interests.

Meetings of the Council of the Heads of Government, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Economic Council of the CIS are also held on a regular basis to discuss issues of interstate cooperation within the framework of the CIS.

The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States holds inter-parliamentary consultations, develops joint proposals in the field of activity of national parliaments.

The CIS Economic Court was established to ensure unified application of agreements between the CIS member states and the economic obligations and treaties based on them

The CIS Executive Committee is a permanent executive, administrative and coordinating body of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

An important contribution to the CIS coordinated actions is made by intersectoral councils covering economically and socially significant areas of interaction. Such bodies include the heads of the relevant state authorities of the CIS member states. Humanitarian cooperation is coordinated by the Council for Humanitarian Cooperation and the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation of the CIS Member States. Intersectoral councils are also active in the area of security.

The headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States is located in the city of Minsk. The department of the CIS Executive Committee responsible for economic issues is situated in Moscow.

In the year of 2017, chaired by the Russian Federation, the priority task of work within the CIS was the implementation of the Decision of the Council of Heads of State on the adaptation of the Commonwealth to modern realities.

Decisions on the redistribution of powers between the bodies of the Commonwealth, the optimization of the activities of the Economic Court and the Interstate Statistical Committee, the introduction of a competitive framework for the admission of employees to the bodies of the Commonwealth were adopted. Work on the inventory of the CIS legal framework was put on a systematic basis. 

In 2018, the chairmanship passed to the Republic of Tajikistan.

The meeting of the CIS Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held on April 6, 2018 in Minsk became a significant political event. It acknowledged the key role of the Belarus in the integration processes in the region. At the initiative of Belarus and Russia, a statement on preventing the erosion of the principle of non-interference in the internal issues of sovereign states was adopted by the CIS foreign ministers.

On June 1, 2018 the meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of Government was held. The agenda of the event included 14 issues, the key one was the report on the progress of negotiations on the draft Agreement on a Free Trade Zone in Services.

On September 27 – 28, 2018 meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Council of Heads of State were held in Dushanbe. Decisions were made concerning the interaction of the CIS countries in the areas of security and stability, trade and economic cooperation, energy, transport and communications, including on the free movement of goods, investments and services, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

On November 2, 2018 the meeting of the Council of Heads of Government was held in Astana. A number of conceptual documents were adopted, including the Agreement on the implementation of joint activities of the CIS member states in the field of research and peaceful uses of outer space, aimed at improving the legal framework of multilateral cooperation in this field.

On November 27, 2018 during the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Minsk the Memorandum on deepening interaction between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the CIS Executive Committee was signed. The document provides the framework for cooperation in such areas as government procurement, competition policy and antitrust regulation, digital economy, cooperation in tax policy, traceability and labeling of goods by identification tools, protection of consumer rights.

Today the implementation of the Free Trade Zone Agreement remains as a key point of economic cooperation. Considerable attention is paid to work on the removal of restrictions in mutual trade, expert study of the draft Agreement on Free Trade in Services. Work in progress to promote the agreed positions of the CIS countries on the external contour, which resulted in documents and statements adopted and circulated in the UN and other international organizations on a pressing issue on the global and regional agenda.

In the year of 2019 the chairmanship in the Commonwealth moved to Turkmenistan.