Georgia starts process to exit ex-Soviet CIS pact

14:42, 19 August 2008
World
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CIS Executive Committee received an official note

Georgia has officially informed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that it is pulling out of the Russian-led group of former Soviet republics, its secretariat said on Tuesday.

Georgia`s parliament voted on August 14 to withdraw from the CIS after a unanimous vote, days after an armed conflict with Russia over its breakaway region of South Ossetia.

"We have received an official note from Georgia that they are leaving," Vera Yakubovskaya, a representative of the CIS Executive Committee based in Minsk, told Reuters.

"The CIS is a voluntary body and each country decides itself whether to remain in the Commonwealth, or not," she said.

The CIS has numerous treaties on trade and integration, but these have little practical effect. Analysts say the body`s main function is to act as a political forum for Moscow to maintain its influence over the former Soviet space.

Many other members of the bloc, which consists of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine, distanced themselves from Moscow in its conflict with Tbilisi.

Georgia will formally remain part of the CIS for another 12 months, according to CIS rules, to sort out technical issues such as participation in more than 700 CIS pacts and agreements, the CIS official said.

Three former Soviet Republics on the Baltic coast, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not members of the CIS.

Reuters via The Post Chronicle

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