The President said that relations with the CIS are one of Russia’s biggest foreign policy priorities. This was the reason for establishing the new agency for CIS affairs in October 2008, he noted.
Mr Mukhametshin briefed the President about the agency’s work priorities and its work to build up its offices abroad. In particular, Mr Mukhametshin said, Russian research and cultural centres have opened this year in the capitals of Azerbaijan, Moldova and Armenia – Baku, Chisinau and Yerevan. An intergovernmental agreement is due to be signed with Belarus on June 9, following which a similar centre will open in Minsk. Similar agreements are being drawn up with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and branches in Ukraine and Kazakhstan are expanding.
In November 2008, Mr Mukhametshin was also appointed special presidential representative for relations with the CIS countries.