Heads of state of the 12 member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are opening a summit today in Kazan, the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, RFE/RL reported.

The meeting coincides with celebrations marking the 1000-year anniversary of the founding of Kazan, a city on the Volga River some 700 kilometers east of Moscow.

The summit is expected to include discussion of ways to reform the CIS, which is widely seen as having been ineffectual in its goal of maintaining close relations between former Soviet states.

The leaders are also expected to issue a declaration in connection with next year's 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear-power station disaster.

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