Eurasian Economic Union’s summit opens in Bishkek
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the Kazakh capital Bishkek to take part in summits of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
The meeting of the EEU, comprising Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, will focus on issues of integration and removal of trade barriers. The participants will also discuss main priorities for member states’ economic policies for the coming years, the Kremlin press service said.
Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kirghizia, Serzh Sargsyan, Alexander Lukashenko, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Almazbek Atambayev are also expected to attend the meeting.
The agenda of the meeting also includes issues of the EEU external activities and relations with foreign partners. During the summit, Moldova may be granted an observer status in the organization. Moldovan President Igor Dodon will also take part in the event.
During the informal meeting of CSTO, comprising Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the leaders will "discuss issues of the organization’s further development and measures to strengthen cooperation on issues of regional security," the Kyrgyz president’s press service said.
Russian president spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the informal conversation will be held with restricted attendance and floating agenda.
The Russian president said in an interview to the Mir 24 TV channel prior to his visit that the organization has "definitely proved its effectiveness." He also recalled that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 15th anniversary of CSTO.
The director of the EEU Institute, Vladimir Lepekhin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, in the first place pointed to the fact that after the recent events in the Middle East and the Far East, both the EEU and the CSTO are in some confusion. "The fact is that the US policy is being transformed, but nobody knows in what direction. The US is taking drastic steps in the Middle East, and the recent bombing in Afghanistan is a confirmation," the expert noted.
According to him, the EEU and the CSTO summits are very timely and will have serious significance. "The recent actions of the US in the Middle East concern many CSTO countries. I is still unclear why US Secretary of State Tillerson came to Moscow, what he discussed with Vladimir Putin. Which is why it is necessary to exchange views on all these issues in order to understand what adjustments are necessary in the activities of the CSTO in connection with all these tense events," the director of the EEU Institute said.
At the same time, he stressed that "now there is a struggle within the US establishment. Trump's steps in Syria and the Far East are mostly demonstrative. So, it seems to me that the number of issues existing today in the Eurasian space may decrease after the summit," Vladimir Lepekhin concluded.
The deputy director of the Institute of the CIS, Vladimir Zharikhin, expressed the opinion that the EEC and the CSTO, as well as the whole world, have been experiencing a difficult situation lately. "If there is instability in the world, if the number of terrorist acts increases, then the EEA and the CSTO cannot stand aside, as they are inside this process. I mean the economic crisis and the fight against international terrorism. In this situation, the task facing the Eurasian Economic community is to save ourselves and not to back off from the achieved positions. Under current conditions it would be naive to wait for any rapid build-up of integration processes," the expert explained.
"As of the ЕEU, the positive step here is the signing of the agreement on customs tariffs by Belarus. With regard to the CSTO, it is facing the challenge of jointly responding to terrorist challenges. But I think, given the specifics of this organization, many of the agreements achieved by the parties will be of a closed nature," Vladimir Zharikhin summed up.