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GUAM relies on a European “donor”2009-03-02 09:59
Representatives of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova (GUAM) have just arrived in Kiev for the opening of the organization's headquarters. In the coming days they will have to work hard searching for an action plan to fight the economic crisis.
Two years after establishing GUAM, the Organization for democracy and economic development comprising four countries, the HQ location - the capital of Ukraine - was eventually determined. Kiev will also host inauguration of the GUAM secretariat, GHN agency reported with reference to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vasily Kirilich.
Today on February 27 the Foreign Ministers of the member states must have a working session. However GUAM's plans were modified. According to Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper Moldova submitted only its Ambassador, Nikolay Gumennoy and not the head of the Foreign Ministry or at least his deputy. As is known big political forces of Moldova urge withdrawal from GUAM. President Vladimir Voronin in his interview with Russian media did not consider it impossible reproaching the organization for inefficiency.
It will be remembered that GUAM association was created in the post-Soviet space as a counter to Russia's traditional influence in this region. In fact it has never concealed its anti-Russian sentiment. Possible transformation of GUAM into GUA is mainly due to recent betterment of the Russian-Moldavian relations. According to Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov they "are developing in a spirit of partnership". For instance already this March a trilateral meeting of presidents of Moldova, Transdniestria and Russia will be held. Azerbaijan is not going to quarrel with Russia either. So GUAM"s anti-Russian backbone is definitely cracking.
Though today the association is openly facing political problems the participants of this meeting regardless of their rank state they are going to find joint mechanisms to overcome the financial and economic crisis. Apparently partners from the USA, Japan, Poland and the Czech Republic are going to assist them in this: they are also invited for the housewarming ceremony in HQ. This was reported to 1NEWS.az agency by GUAM Secretary General Valery Chechelashvili.
The organization's secretary general asserts that neither the global economic crisis nor the war in South Ossetia had a negative effect on GUAM. "Certainly the crisis affects all our countries, to a different extent though. It will be observed that the crisis did not damage trade relationships and expansion of trade within the organization. In particular, in 2008 the trade turnover between GUAM member states grew from 3 to 4.1 billion dollars", - Chechelashvili noted with satisfaction. The free trade zone established within the frame of the organization is of great help to Georgia when the Russian markets are shut for it, the Secretary General remarks.
What can GUAM invent to conquer the crisis? Most probably one of these days a decision on GUAM member states' accession to the Eastern Partnership under formation in the EU will be taken. The EU plans to embrace Armenia and Belarus as well. However the cooperation with the latter depends on Belarus's non recognition of Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence. Eastern Partnership objectives coincide with GUAM's tasks - execution of strategic agreements, creation of free trade zones, simplification of visa regime, search for alternative ways of energy supplies. Besides the EU promises to appropriate around 350 million dollars (that are always useful) to the would-be participants.
The crisis makes approaches to the problems that need joint consideration be more realistic.