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CIS heads of state to meet in Kazakhstan

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CIS heads of state to meet in Kazakhstan

Flags of the CIS nations in a row.
Flags of the CIS nations in a row.
Heads of state from across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will meet today in Kazakhstan as regional tensions rise – Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Heads of state from across the former Soviet Union will meet today in Astana, Kazakhstan for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Summit.

The summit’s objectives include promoting economic integration between member states, furthering arms control and information security and preparing to transfer the organization’s chairmanship from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan.

Last Friday, the president of Kyrgyzstan skipped an informal meeting of CIS leaders in St. Petersburg, with the Kyrgyz government protesting Tajikistan’s attendance due to recent border clashes between them. In July, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan refused to sign a new friendship declaration at a summit of Central Asian leaders in Kyrgyzstan. Russia has redeployed thousands of soldiers from former Soviet states to support its war in Ukraine, with Russia pulling 1,500 soldiers from Tajikistan in September.

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The summit’s discussions will likely focus on economic issues like lowering tariffs in order to skirt regional political tensions. Russia will likely keep transferring soldiers from Central Asia to reinforce its army in Ukraine, with soldiers in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan likely to go first. If Russia loses to Ukraine, expect military clashes in Central Asia to increase in frequency and ferocity and for other states like China to potentially replace Russia as regional peacekeeper.

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