The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was formed on December 8, 1991 by the leaders of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, who signed the Creation Agreement.
On December 21, 1991, the heads of 11 sovereign states signed the Protocol to the Agreement, in accordance with which they formed the Commonwealth of Independent States on equal bases. In 1993 Georgia became the CIS member-state, but on August 18, 2009 it officially withdrew from the Commonwealth.
On January 22, 1993 The CIS Charter was adopted, according to which the goals of the CIS are defined as follows:
comprehensive and balanced economic and social development of the CIS member states;
ensuring human rights and fundamental liberties in accordance with generally recognized principles and norms of international law;
Ukraine and Turkmenistan have not ratified the CIS Charter, as a result of which these two countries de-jure are not considered as CIS member states, but only as founding-states or participating states.
On August 26, 2005, within the framework of Kazan CIS Summit, Turkmenistan stated that the country would be engaged in the activities of the Organization in the capacity of "associate member".
In March of 1994 The CIS was granted the observer status in the UN General Assembly.
Cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States is realized through the Charter Bodies of the CIS:
- Council of Heads of States
- Council of Heads of Governments
- Council of Foreign Ministers
- Council of Defense Ministers
- Council of Commanders-in-Chief of Frontier Troops
- Economic Court
- Economic Council
- Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
- Council of Permanent Plenipotentiary Representatives of the Participating States of the Commonwealth to Charter and Other Bodies of the Commonwealth.
There are around 70 bodies of sectoral cooperation within the framework of the CIS aimed at assisting the interaction between the CIS member states in the sphere of economic and social development, humanitarian cooperation, combatting crime and terrorism and other spheres of cooperation.
In 2008 The Statute on National coordinators of the CIS member states was adopted.
The only permanent functioning executive, administrative and coordination body of the CIS is the Executive Committee headquartered of the Executive Committee is located in Minsk with a branch in Moscow.
The chairmanship of the CIS bodies is transferred alternately to the CIS member states based on the principle of rotation according to the Russian alphabet. Each state assumes the chairmanship for one year term, if no other decision is adopted. The previous and the following chairmen-countries become co-chairs in the highest organs.
The President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan participated in the Bishkek Summit, where the statement of the heads of the CIS participating states on the 25th anniversary of the Commonwealth was adopted on September 16, 2016.
On October 28, 2016 the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Karen Karapetyan attended the session of the Council of the CIS Heads of Governments held in Minsk.
The Council of the CIS Ministers of Foreign Affairs is one of the highest bodies of the Commonwealth, the instance which recommends the Council of the CIS Heads of States and the Council of the CIS Heads of Governments to adopt relevant decision. on April 7, 2016 in Moscow and on September 15, 2016 in Bishkek, Foreign Minister E.A.Nalbandian participated in the meetings of the Council of the CIS Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
According to the principle of rotation, the Russian Federation will assume the presidency in the CIS on January 1, 2017.