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CIS heads of state set to arrive for informal summit in Moscow

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MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) - Almost all the leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States will arrive in Moscow Friday for an informal two-day summit.

The biggest doubt hanging over the leaders of the 11 full members of the post-Soviet grouping is Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who is faced with political turmoil at home. But, according to one source, Yushchenko will make it to the Russian capital despite the talk of dissolving parliament and new elections sweeping Kiev.

A Russian presidential aide said earlier there would be two main points on the agenda: the international situation and reform of CIS executive agencies. Preparations for the meeting were discussed at a meeting between the Russian and Kazakh presidents Monday.

"They touched on matters of streamlining CIS activities based on proposals that Nursultan Nazarbayev as the Commonwealth chairman had earlier sent to the presidents," Sergei Prikhodko said.

The CIS presidents are expected to hold a number of bilateral negotiations.

But Prikhodko said that political negotiations should not serve "as a smokescreen to create an illusion of progress," adding that it was essential to attain real results.

The summit's main events are scheduled for Saturday. This will be the seventh informal "shirt-sleeves" meeting of CIS leaders since the organization was formed in December 1991.

Informal CIS meetings do not have a fixed agenda, but stand out for their open-ended, free-wheeling discussions on current issues.

The CIS unites Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Turkmenistan gave up full membership of the club in 2005 and is now an associate member.

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