A number of economic cooperation agreements were signed at a meeting of the Council of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on November 22, according to The Messenger Online.

The Georgian delegation was headed by the State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Gia Baramidze. According to the Russian news agency Regnum, Baramidze had stated prior to the meeting that Georgia would not be signing any of the documents.

This was in protest at Russia’s ongoing economic embargo against Georgia, and at the situation in the conflict zones.

“Georgia will not accept so-called peace forces encouraging separatism and aggravating the situation in the conflict zones; we will do everything in our power to bring neutral forces into the conflict zones,” Baramidze told Regnum.

He also stressed the importance of Georgia’s maintaining friendly relations with all CIS member states.

Unlike Georgia, other member states are looking for economic profits from the CIS.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovich, hopes that a CIS Free Economic Zone will be set up soon, Regnum said.

During his visit to Ashgabat, Russian deputy Prime Minister Sergey Naryshkin stressed that the CIS was very important to Russia.

In the first nine months of 2007, trade with the CIS states was worth a total of USD 60 million to Russia.

“In 2007, trade between the CIS states increased by 35 percent compared with 2006,” Regnum quoted Naryshkin as saying.