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    May 21, 2016

    "Maybe not today, but tomorrow": Lukashenko says Ukraine and Georgia will return to CIS

    May 21, 2016 - 
    Translated by J. Arnoldski

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko believes it is necessary to return Ukraine and Georgia to CIS membership, BELTA news agency reports.

    Lukashenko expressed confidence that after some time Ukraine and Georgia will themselves join the Commonwealth of Independent States.

    “I am sure that Ukraine, maybe not today, but tomorrow will come back to us. It has a lot of interests here. I think Georgia does too. It’s necessary to do what it takes for them to return. There are a lot of people there who are ready to cooperate with us,” Lukashenko said at a meeting of the council of heads of defense organs and special services of the CIS countries. 

    At the same time, the Belarusian president believes that it is necessary to improve work on modernizing and strengthening the CIS so that exiting or new participants will themselves desire to join the CIS. CIS members need to “call others to join them, not compel them,” Lukashenko remarked.

    He added: “There are no more barriers. It is necessary to maintain and develop what is good so that people will appreciate the Commonwealth.”

    The president of Belarus also recalled how Ukraine has suffered “huge losses” since signing the agreement on the Ukraine-EU free trade zone. According to Lukashenko, Ukraine became “cut off” from the free trade zone within the CIS framework after signing such agreements. 

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