'The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a viable organisation with many useful purposes, but its importance should not be exaggerated,' said Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday evening at a press conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. According to the President's press service, Putin stressed that the CIS 'should be provided with a fixed budget.' Without the CIS, noted the President, it would be difficult to resolve many questions.
Putin believes that the CIS should complement the Eurasian Economic Association and the Collective Security Treaty. He stressed that the association, which is aimed exclusively at resolving economic problems, has already proved its worth. 'The increase in trade between the member countries shows that we were right to set up the organisation,' said Putin. The visit to Bishkek concluded the Russian President's Asian tour, which included visits to China, India, and Kyrgyzstan.
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