CIS summit becomes platform for bilateral talks
Dushanbe is hosting the CIS summit today. All CIS heads of state arrived in Tajikistan yesterday, except of the president of Turkmenistan. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov went to New York to attend the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Armenia will be represented by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was invited to the meeting of the Commonwealth, as Ukraine de jure has not yet left the CIS. But Kiev ignored the invitation.
The reception of the distinguished guests was thoroughly prepared in Tajikistan. President Emomali Rahmon, together with the mayor of the capital, his son Rustam Emomali, opened a new reception hall for official guests at the Dushanbe international airport. According to the press service of the head of state, "this hall is on three levels and has a basement." In addition to meeting rooms, rest rooms and offices, there are also duty-free shops and three restaurants.
The heads of state will discuss preparations for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War. 18 documents will be signed, including in cultural and humanitarian areas, in ensuring security in the CIS area. The leaders of the CIS countries will approve passing the CIS chairmanship to Turkmenistan from Tajikistan in 2019. The summit participants will also consider the issues related to writer Chingiz Aitmatov's 90th anniversary and the World Nomad Games.
Breakthrough decisions are not expected at the summit, according to experts, since the establishment of the CIS meant "a mode of civilized divorce." Independent expert Kubat Rakhimov told Vestnik Kavkaza: "When the union republics "scattered", a mechanism was needed that would conjugate different-speed disintegration." "Until now, the CIS is still an institution for divorce. It is hard to call it an integration association, but a positive thing should be noted. The most part of the Commonwealth is visa-free, the parameters of information exchange and socio-cultural aspects are preserved. However, economic results of these processes are negative," Rakhimov noted.
The expert believes that at the moment there is no real alternative to the Commonwealth, even though the CIS has lost Georgia and Ukraine is withdrawing. "The CIS has no instruments of pressure. It is rather a discussion platform, a venue for holding bilateral meetings," Kubat Rakhimov stressed.
According to the head of the Eurasian Analytical Club Nikita Mendkovich, the CIS is a wide-range organization which includes countries of several autonomous regions, each with its own specific agenda related to transit, economic and security issues. "Given the recent context of CSTO statements and events, I am sure that the agenda related to security issues will be relevant in many cases," Nikita Mendkovich told Vestnik Kavkaza.
This is not accidental. Recently, the head of the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Center (CIS ATC), Colonel-General Andrei Novikov, said that militants of the ISIS terrorist group (banned in Russia) are trying to create a stronghold in Central Asia. Mendkovich believes that this topic will be discussed at the meeting of the CIS summit. The fact is that the exercises of the CSTO countries were completed recently, during which the skills of repelling threats from Afghanistan and ISIS were worked out. "The CSTO deals with issues of military and quasi-military defense. Therefore, the sides may discuss the interaction of CIS special services in preventing the penetration of ISIS into the territory of the Commonwealth, particularly into the Central Asian republics," Mendkovich believes.
The expert recalled that Russia, India, Iran, China and Afghanistan agreed recently to create a joint database of terrorist organizations. It cannot be ruled out that the issue of the CIS ATC database's interaction with a newly created database with the participation of several far abroad countries will be raised during the CIS summit.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyev was one of the first to arrive in Dushanbe. The presidents of Tajikistan and Tajikistan met twice this year. In March 2018, the Uzbek leader came to Dushanbe, while Tashkent was visited by Emomali Rahmon in August. Dushanbe and Tashkent have almost no outstanding issues to consider. Therefore, the presidents have started their meeting with the cultural program.
According to experts, the leaders of the two countries have long delayed the discussion of the construction of the Rogun HPP. The hydroelectric power plant is being built on the territory of Tajikistan. Uzbekistan worried that the hydroelectric power plant would deprive tens of thousands of hectares of new land in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya of water. It is possible that this time Uzbekistan will not only agree on the project, but also offer its participation in financing the completion of the Rogun HPP. Moreover, the launch of the first hydroelectric power station is planned on November 19.
Emomali Rahmon received the Moldovan president Igor Dodon in the Palace of the Nation, the Tajik presidential press service reported. The Moldovan president also hopes to meet Putin. There are a lot of issues in the Moldovan-Russian relations. Their decision depends on the results of the parliamentary elections in Moldova. If the Socialist Party wins, Chisinau will be able to integrate into the Eurasian space, retaining ties with the EU. Otherwise, the course towards the European Union will be taken.
The future of Kyrgyzstan depends on President Sooronbai Jeenbekov's talks with the Russian leader. Kyrgyzstan is experiencing an economic crisis. Experts believe that Kyrgyzstan can not get out of it without Russian assistance.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has recently met with the Russian leader, but bilateral negotiations are still planned. The Belarusian leader received a $1 billion loan from Russia and the possibility of unlimited exports of Belarusian products to the Russian regions. For his part, he promised to strengthen the border with Ukraine.
The heads of Russia and Tajikistan will discuss the expansion of cooperation between the two countries. "It is planned that during the talks the leaders will exchange views on the most pressing regional problems. Russia and Tajikistan have similar positions in the framework of integration associations and international organizations," presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists. He noted that Russian investments in the Tajik economy reached $1.6 billion. Russia ranks second, while China is first with 2.2 billion dollars. "The energy cooperation is developing. The Sangtuda-1 HPP is operating, providing around 12% of Tajikistan's electricity output. Gazprom's subsidiary manages a network of 31 gas stations and three oil bases," Ushakov said.
However, according to experts, Emomali Rahmon can also discuss with the Russian leader the issue of transit of power in Tajikistan. Rahmon prepares his son Rustam Emomali to lead the country. The leading expert of the Center of Contemporary Afghanistan Studies, political scientist Andrei Serenko believes that the problem is that it should be approved by the Kremlin yet. Rakhmon's attempts to present his son to Putin earlier were unsuccessful. Rahmon must make a decision: either to appoint Rustam Emomali to the highest post and govern himself with his son-president, or to be elected once again. It is expected that this transition can be completed in the next two years. Of course, Emomali Rahmon, is interested in ensuring that the process of transit of power goes as smoothly as possible, being recognized by the international community.