Premiers of CIS states fail to agree on draft of free trade deal

MINSK, May 19 (RIA Novosti) – The prime ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member countries failed to reach agreement Thursday on drafting a free trade treaty, the prime minister of Tajikistan said.

The draft agreement on a free trade zone, which would move the grouping of most of the former Soviet republics further toward liberalized trade, topped the agenda of the meeting of the CIS heads of governments in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, on Thursday.

Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov said, however, that the work on the agreement would continue and be completed by October to be signed by the presidents of the CIS member states.

Mikhail Myasnikovich, the prime minister of Belarus and the chair of the CIS Executive Committee, said the agreement will be again discussed by the CIS Economic Council on June 28 in Moscow.

The CIS is a loose association of former Soviet republics. It consists of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine has not ratified the CIS Charter but participates in its activities.

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