Georgia's parliament formally puts end to CIS membership
Russia says it will change nothing
The parliament of Georgia unanimously passed on Friday decrees on the formal withdrawal of the former Soviet republic from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), RIA Novosti reported.
Georgia notified the CIS executive committee of its desire to quit the Russian-dominated organization on August 18, 2008. The move came after a five-day war with Russia over the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia.
"Georgia has already withdrawn from the organization... Therefore, today we are wrapping up this process by the proper decree formally and legally," parliament Speaker David Bakradze said after the first parliamentary session in two months amid mass opposition protests in Tbilisi.
The CIS currently comprises Russia, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine is a founding and participating country but technically not a member state. Turkmenistan holds associate status.
Following a CIS foreign ministers` meeting in Kyrgyzstan last October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Georgia`s withdrawal would change nothing and Tbilisi`s participation in the post-Soviet alliance had been malign in recent years.