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Georgia Votes to Secede From Russia-led CIS

Posted June. 15, 2009 06:54,   


The parliament of Georgia has unanimously passed decrees on the former Soviet republics` formal withdrawal from the Russia-led Commonwealth of Independent States, the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti said.

Georgia informed the CIS executive committee of its secession after the armed conflict with Russia in August last year over the separatist movement in South Ossetia.

RIA Novosti said the passage of the decrees is Georgia’s internal official approval of the secession.

“Georgia has already withdrawn from the organization... Therefore, today we are wrapping up this process through the proper decree formally and legally,” Georgian parliamentary speaker David Bakradze said.

The Georgian parliament held its first vote in two months amid mass opposition protests in Tbilisi demanding the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili over the loss of last year’s conflict with Russia. All opposition lawmakers also agreed to the withdrawal.

The CIS is a political union of 11 of 15 former Soviet republics that gained independence after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukraine has virtually ceased being a member state due to its 2005 conflict with Russia over a gas price hike. Turkmenistan remains a semi-official member.

So the only member states to be left in the group after Georgia’s secession are Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Moscow, however, seems unfazed by the secession. Following a CIS foreign ministers` meeting in Kyrgyzstan in October last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Georgia`s membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States over the past few years has been aimed at the erosion of the Commonwealth rather than its consolidation. So I cannot see any negative consequences for our organization.”