Victor Yushchenko on Tuesday spoke at a GUAM summit, GUAM: Uniting Continents, in Baku. In his speech, the president praised the organization’s achievements and outlined its priorities, President's press office reported.

Yushchenko said GUAM “has walked a long path from being an informal alliance of friends to becoming a full-fledged international organization.” “GUAM has become an important regional example of how sovereign nations can unite to promote democratic values and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We have clearly determined its political and economic vectors,” he said, adding that the world community was obviously interested in GUAM, its activities and prospects. “…30 delegations and international organizations from different corners of the world are attending the summit today, and GUAM makes new friends and finds new partners.” He said its leaders had held talks with Poland yesterday and planned to build closer ties with the United States and Japan.

Yushchenko said GUAM “has achieved a number of practical results.” It has launched a virtual center and an international information system to fight terrorism, organized crime and human trafficking, he said, adding that its members would soon start economic and transportation projects and were negotiating a free trade agreement.

The president said it was one of their priorities to establish international transportation routes. “We have all the opportunities and capabilities to reopen the Silk Road,” he said, expressing hopes GUAM’s governments “will spare no effort” to ensure that trains run regularly between Illichivsk and Klaipeda and ferries between Illichivsk and Poti.

Yushchenko stressed the need to boost energy and energy transportation cooperation, reminding those present Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania had agreed to create a system to produce and transport energy at a recent summit in Krakow. He said a working group had started working on the project toopen a Eurasian Oil Corridor, whose major link should be the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline, extended to Poland's Plock.

Yushchenko also spoke about frozen conflicts and said Ukraine would continue to help finding political solutions to such conflicts, suggesting discussing them at a session of the UN General Assembly. He expressed hopes the international community would help resolve these conflicts to strengthen Europe’s security and stability. “GUAM should become a stronghold of stability and development in the region,” he said, adding that the GUAM secretariat would play an important role in this process, overseeing the implementation of agreements and proposing new, interesting ideas.

Yushchenko announced that Azerbaijan would now hold the GUAM presidency.

Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan said the GUAM members were cooperating effectively and “have the serious political will” to enhance their cooperation. He said GUAM played an important role in Eurasia and praised its capabilities, adding that its members “have the same goals and intentions.”


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