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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 Council of Permanent Plenipotentiaries of the Member States of the CIS under the statutory and other bodies of the Commonwealth facilitates the interaction of states in matters of mutual interest.

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 central element of the economic configuration is the CIS multilateral free trade zone with a market capacity of more than 280 million people. In October 2011 the CIS Free Trade Zone Agreement was signed. The document significantly reduced the number of exemptions from the free trade regime upon import.

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 2019, during the chairmanship of Turkmenistan in the Commonwealth the attention of the CIS member states was focused on strengthening of the economic potential of the Commonwealth, widening of the political and diplomatic interaction through enhancing partnership between ministries of foreign affairs, as well as increasing of the international prestige of the CIS.

Within the framework of the economic agenda the Declaration on Strategic Economic Cooperation of the CIS Member States, the Concept of Cooperation in the Field of Digital Development of the Society and the Plan of Priority Actions for its Implementation were adopted.

In 2021, the chairmanship in CIS passed to the Republic of Belarus.

Currently, the parties are working on a draft Agreement on Free Trade in Services.

The following key integrated documents are being prepared:

— the updated Concept of further development of the CIS;

— the CIS economic development Strategy for the period up to 2030.

The preparation of the draft Interstate Program of Innovative Cooperation of the CIS Member States for the period up to 2030 has also been initiated.

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