The President emphasized the importance of formalizing this alliance. He said GUAM had been an interstate project with no rules, procedures, agenda and finances but would soon be officially headquartered in Kyiv.
“Very soon, this organization will be able to respond to a few important challenges affecting each member. I am speaking about economic, trade and energy projects that affect not only the GUAM states but also other European countries.”
When speaking about the past performance of the organization, the Head of State said its ten-year history “has yielded some positive results.” First of all, it is “the place to hold political dialogues about foreign and international processes and joint efforts to implement some economic, regional and fundamental projects,” he said.
Yushchenko is also convinced GUAM “makes it possible to settle ‘frozen’ conflicts”: “Countries that neighbor the territories of armed conflicts feel their negative political, economic, financial and fiscal effects, and they are solely responsible for settling these conflicts.”
When he was told some politicians believed GUAM was a ‘sanitary border’ between Europe and Russia, the President said this comparison was “senseless” and reiterated that Russia was our strategic partner. Although Ukraine plans to develop relations with Russia, it will continue carrying out policies that will establish it as regional leader, he stated.
The Chief of State thinks the GUAM states will definitely be able to have a productive dialogue with their neighbors from Eastern Europe because they all consume Russian gas. He said it was “imperative to formulate an energy concept as well as its market fundamentals and principles of safe transportation.”Mr. Yushchenko partly agreed with the Interfax reporter that GUAM would somewhat replace the inefficient Commonwealth of Independent States but said these organizations had different goals.
“My latest conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin did not focus on the gas issue,” he said, adding, however, that during the Russian leader’s next visit to Ukraine they would surely broach this subject.
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