Yeltsin admits Moscow has impeded former Soviet republics
October 23, 1997
Web posted at: 11:50 a.m. EDT (1550 GMT)
CHISINAU, Moldova (CNN) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin
denied Thursday that the Commonwealth of Independent States
was on its deathbed, but admitted that Moscow was largely to
blame for the group's ineffectiveness and for conflicts among
former Soviet republics who are members.
He urged that the 12-member CIS alliance -- created when the
Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991 -- be reorganized.
"Each (state) noted its own role. But Russia as (CIS)
chairman is to blame for the fact that the CIS has worked
irrationally and ineffectively," Yeltsin told a news
conference in Moldova's capital of Chisinau.
Presidents from every CIS member nation except Turkmenistan's
Saparmurat Niyazov, who is recovering from heart surgery, met
in Moldova's Palace of the Republic for the summit.
Speaking frankly after a closed-door meeting of CIS leaders,
Yeltsin said they blamed Moscow for failing to implement
decisions from previous CIS summits.
"These criticisms are justified," Yeltsin said. "Nobody is
calling the existence of the CIS into doubt, but it must
reform its way of working. The most important thing is to
carry out the decisions of previous summits."
Yeltsin said the leaders agreed to put their criticisms in a
document that will be discussed at a CIS session January 23.
Also on the summit agenda were proposals aimed at boosting
trade, including a common agricultural market, and steps
against illegal migration and crime. As part of proposed
economic reform, members want to ease the flow of goods
within the vast territory of the former Soviet Union.
The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are
the only former Soviet republics that are not CIS members.
Reuters contributed to this report.