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Georgia, Ukraine Talk on Secession from CIS
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Georgia and Ukraine are discussing the expediency of further membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili said in capital Tbilisi on Sunday.

"The representatives of Georgia and Ukraine discussed benefits and disadvantages of the CIS membership. We should thoroughly weigh up all cons and pros," Bezhuashvili was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying, after the visit by Ukrainian experts on Saturday.

"Georgia will hold consultations about the CIS future with friendly CIS member countries," Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said on Sunday.

"Georgia is ready to make important decisions, but we do not want these decisions to be unilateral," he said. "We want coordinated and well considered actions, including the ones concerning the CIS future."

Saakashvili instructed on Tuesday the national government "to analyze the economic expediency of Georgia's further membership in the CIS and present the analysis within two months."

Meanwhile, the Russian government is considering the annulment of CIS preferences for Georgia and Ukraine in case of their secession from the organization, a governmental representative said on Sunday on the condition of anonymity.

He said that Russia would review many agreements signed with Georgia and Ukraine within the CIS.

The CIS was set up in 1991, the time the Soviet Union was formally pronounced dead, in an effort to preserve a basic framework for routine organizational matters in relations developed over 70 years between Soviet republics. It includes all ex-Soviet republics except Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which are now in the European Union and NATO.

(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2006)

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