World Bulletin / News Desk
A summit of leaders of ex-Soviet states scheduled for the start of November has been postponed, an official said on Friday, amid talk that Russian President Vladimir Putin is suffering from back trouble.
The Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a loose group created as the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, said earlier this month the summit was due to take place in Turkmenistan on Nov. 2.
"The (new) dates are being confirmed. They are being agreed with all the presidents," said CIS spokeswoman Vera Yakubovskaya. She declined to give any reason for the postponement.
The Kremlin dismissed talk that Putin had been sidelined from foreign trips after government sources told Reuters he was suffering from back trouble that could require surgery.
The sources said the Russian leader's schedule was being cleared for early November, including the postponement until late December of a trip to India that had been expected soon.
Putin, a judo black belt who is known for stunts that show off his physical prowess throughout his almost 13 years in power, was first seen limping in September when he hosted an Asia-Pacific summit in Russia's Far East.
Putin's spokesman said at the time his boss had pulled a leg muscle.
A recent documentary showed him swimming long distances, working out in a gym and eating raw quail eggs and cream cheese for breakfast.
The former KGB officer could rule Russia until May 2024, according to the constitution.
"LIFE BRINGS CHANGES"
Speculation increased when Putin failed to travel to Pakistan for a four-nation summit on Afghanistan this month or to make an expected trip to Turkey. None of these trips had been officially announced by the Kremlin.
"Many dates which the media reported as fixed were in fact not fixed. Life brings changes and it concerns plans for visits. A lot of information has been misinterpreted by the media," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.
On Friday Putin sent a video message to participants of a Congress of Compatriots in St. Petersburg, attended by Russians who live abroad.
Putin, who turned 60 this month, made ties with neighbouring ex-Soviet states his priority when he returned to the Kremlin in May for a third presidential term.
A decree issued hours after his swearing-in called for closer integration of the ex-Soviet space a "key foreign policy direction" and reiterated plans for a Eurasian Economic Union, based on a Customs Union with Kazakhstan and Belarus.
Putin hosted CIS leaders in the Kremlin a week after his inauguration, making it the first major international event of his new term in office. He travelled to ex-Soviet Belarus before going to Europe.
Pakistani authorities say 47 people on board plane that crashed after leaving capital Islamabad
Fresh fighting breaks out between gov’t troops, ISIL-inspired group that occupied part of town in Muslim south last month
Aceh official says at least 500 receiving treatment at Sigli town hospital after strong quake topples dozens of buildings
The Fugro Equator, one of four vessels involved in the search, remains in the 120,000 square-kilometre (46,000-square-mile) zone where investigators believe the Malaysian Airlines jet went down.
The young man, who was 17 when he was arrested by police last year, pleaded guilty to one charge of committing an act, or planning the preparation of an act, of terror.
Kofi Annan says discussed Rakhine Buddhist-Rohingya Muslim reconciliation, citizenship, development with Myanmar gov’t
Hun Sen says US quick to criticize protest-related rights issues in Cambodia, but downplaying protests after Trump’s win
Meeting being arranged for around a week after inauguration of new U.S. president
Adani Enterprises' Carmichael coal mine destined to be one of the world's biggest has encountered numerous regulatory and legal hurdles, leading to six years of delays.
Heavy rains have lashed the central part of Thailand's south for much of the last week, including the popular tourist draws of Krabi, Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan, affecting some flights and ferry services.
Military says bombs recovered in raid of 5 houses said to belong to mother of Maute group’s leaders in troubled south
Authorities wheeled out giant furnaces to incinerate some of the massive haul on display, including nearly half a tonne of methamphetamine, 190,000 ecstasy tablets and 420 kilogrammes (926 pounds) of marijuana.
Violence against the Rohingya has forced thousands to flee and cross the border into Bangladesh with dozens missing after a boat capsized in a border river
Trump's protocol-shattering call with Taiwan's president and a subsequent Twitter tirade against Beijing's policies could risk upending the delicate balance between the world's two largest economies, major media outlets said.
Sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation, severe beatings, being forced into stress positions for extended periods of time, and threats to family members are just part of the torture that make up the internal justice system
Comes after explosions at 2 different coal mines killed at least 53 workers last week