President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
Allow me to welcome you to Sochi for the Summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
I would like to note that President of Moldova Igor Dodon and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev are taking part in the event for the first time. My special greetings to you on this occasion.
The summit agenda is very busy. We will chart the path for further strengthening interaction within the CIS and exchange opinions on what should be done to make the Commonwealth and its structures more efficient.
Traditionally, we will pay special attention to economic topics. We will discuss steps aimed at deepening trade and investment ties and at eliminating existing barriers to the movement of goods and services. We have everything it takes to launch major new mutually beneficial business projects.
During the course of this summit, some important decisions in the humanitarian field are to be approved. We are convinced that their implementation will help strengthen neighbourly relations between our countries and peoples and contribute to expanding exchanges in the field of culture, education, science and tourism. We are going to discuss this today.
I suggest that, as usual, we give the floor to the Chairman of the Executive Committee and Executive Secretary of the CIS Sergei Lebedev. Then each of us will speak on the substance of the issues we have gathered today to discuss.