CHOLPON-ATA, KIRGISTAN - Prime ministers of former Soviet republics have pledged to boost the level of co-operation among their countries through the creation of a free-trade zone on the former Soviet territory.
The announcement was made in Kirgistan earlier today when the prime ministers penned 28 official documents, including Russia’s bilateral agreement to construct the Kambarakin Hydro-electric Station in Kirgistan.
Addressing the press corps later, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov noted that CIS countries are ready to boost the level of co-operation among countries within the framework of the Commonwealth. “We’ve done - and, will be doing - our best to make the co-operation the most effective.”
Other prime ministers were also upbeat, with most proposing concrete ways of boosting the level of co-operation and integration within the Commonwealth, which comprises 12 former Soviet republics, except for the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which are expected to join the European Union on May 1
Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukhovich called for the creation of a free-trade zone in the CIS, noting that the creation of such zone could be the start of the new level of cooperation and integration. “The work we have conducted recently with our colleagues in the CIS countries has created all conditions needed for the realization of this task in the near future.” Yanukhovich was upbeat. “We do not have any disagreements on [trade] restrictions. There are, however, some issues on tariffs policy, but I think they will be solved in the non-too distant future.”
Georgia, which has threatened several times to quite the loosely structured organization, has also expressed its readiness to co-operate with other countries within the framework of the Commonwealth. “We believe that the Commonwealth has considerable potential. We are ready to use this potential used in the interests of Georgia and the Commonwealth,” Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania said. Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said negotiations on the issue [of free creating a free-trade zone] within the framework of the working group as well as at the level of prime ministers are on course to yield the expected results.