The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was founded on 8 December 1991 by signing of The Creation Agreement by the leaders of the Republic of Belarus, Russian Federation, and Ukraine.
On 21 December 1991 the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan and Ukraine signed the Alma-Ata Protocol and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Georgia, signed the Almaty Protocol in 1993 but on 18 August 2009 officially withdrew from the CIS.
On 22 January 1993 all member states except Ukraine adopted the CIS Charter. According to the Charter the purposes of the CIS are:
• realization of cooperation in political, economic, environmental, humanitarian, cultural and other spheres;
• comprehensive and balanced economic and social development of member states under the framework of common economic space, interstate cooperation and integration;
• ensuring human rights and fundamental liberties in accordance with generally recognized principles and norms of international law and documents of the OSCE;
• cooperation between member states to ensure international peace and security, the realization of effective measures for the reduction of arms and military expenditures, the elimination of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction, and the achievement of universal and full disarmament;
• assisting citizens of member states in free interaction, contacts and movement in the Commonwealth;
• mutual legal assistance and cooperation in other spheres of legal relations;
• peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts between states of the Commonwealth.
On 26 August 2005 Turkmenistan changed its CIS standing to associate member.
Cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States is executed through the Charter Bodies of the CIS:
• Council of Heads of States
• Council of Heads of Governments
• Council of Foreign Ministers
• Economic Council
• Council of Defense Ministers
• Council of Commanders-in-Chief of Frontier Troops
• Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
• Economic Court
Between the Council of Heads of States, Council of Heads of Governments and Council of Foreign Ministers meetings the CIS permanent functioning body is the Council of Permanent Plenipotentiary Representatives of the States-Participants of the Commonwealth under Charter and Other Bodies of the Commonwealth.
The permanent functioning executive, administrative and coordination body of the CIS is the Executive Committee. Headquarters of the Executive Committee is located in Minsk with a branch in Moscow.
In March 1994 the CIS was granted the observer status in the UN General Assembly. On 19 April 1994 the same status was granted to the Commonwealth in the UNCTAD.
The CIS has 82 bodies including 66 bodies of branch cooperation aimed at promoting cooperation within the CIS.
The Republic of Armenia is one of the founders of the CIS and active participant in the development and implementation of various cooperation programs within the Commonwealth. This is due to the interests of the country in the economic, humanitarian, political, military and political and other spheres.
The Republic of Armenia participates in all the organs of the CIS, except the CIS Economic Court.
On 5 October 2007 the CIS summit in Dushanbe approved the draft Concept of further Development and the related draft Plan of main events.
On 20 November 2009 the CIS Council of Heads of Governments in Yalta approved the main areas of a long-term cooperation of the CIS member states in the IT sphere and joint action to mitigate the consequences of the global financial crises.
On 9-10 December 2010 the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Council of Heads of States of the Commonwealth of Independent States took place. At the meeting of CIS Foreign Ministers 18 draft documents were discussed. These documents were aimed at further developing and deepening of intergovernmental cooperation in the economic, humanitarian spheres and in the field of security.
On 10 December 2010 the CIS Council of Heads of States meeting took place. During the meeting the Heads of States exchanged their opinions on the agenda and the issues concerning further strengthening and improving effectiveness of the Commonwealth of Independent States. At the meeting more than 20 draft documents were discussed and adopted aimed at intensifying cooperation in economic and humanitarian spheres, in security and other areas of the Commonwealth activities.
According to the decision of the Moscow summit since January 1st, 2011 the presidency of the CIS bodies was transferred from the Russian Federation to the Republic of Tajikistan.