President Victor Yushchenko on Monday spoke at the 15th summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Istanbul, President's press office reported.

In his speech, Yushchenko said Ukraine, which will hold the BSEC presidency from November 1, aimed to start large-scale transportation projects, enhance regional security, developtrade in the Black Sea region and promote international dialogue.

“We sincerely welcome the active efforts by Serbia and Turkey during their presidency to unite the region. I would like to assure you that Ukraine will worthily continue these efforts,” he said. “Our common mission has not changed and it is to support the idea of dynamic and multilateralcooperation in the political, economic and cultural area of the Black Sea.”

Speaking about transportation projects, the president said the Black Sea region was among the world’s transit leaders. “Kyiv suggests concentrating on the implementation of large-scale projects and programs to develop roads and the creation of international transportation corridors,” he said, adding that Ukraine welcomed and approved the idea of building a highway around the Black Sea and roads to connect BSEC member states. He added that such projects would help boost tourism and trade.

Yushchenko insisted the organization must formulate “fundamental energy policies.” “We will then have more benefits and minimize the threat of using energy as an instrument of foreign influence,” he said, reminding the region’s leaders that Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine suggested creating a single system to produce andpipe energy. He expressed hopes this idea would be supported by the Black Sea states.

“It is time we established a free trade zone in the Black Sea area based on the rules and procedures of the World Trade Organization. This is another key to the region's deeper and more active integration," he said.

Speaking about ways to strengthen regional security, the president said the organization must “permanently control” such important issues as anti-terrorism efforts, illegal labor migration, human trafficking, illegal drug and arms trade, and suggested opening a special office to coordinate "the security dialogue."

“We insist on enhancingour efforts aimed at settling frozen conflicts in our region peacefully. This task affects us all because it poses a threat to universal security,” he said.

The president urged BSEC members to resolve ecological problemsin the region by renewingits flora and fauna. He also said it was important to promote cultural cooperation.

Describing the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation as an “organization having ambitious goals and great prospects,” Yushchenko said it shouldbuild closer and effective ties with other international organizations: “I see great prospects in implementing joint projects with the European Union in many important areas – from politics to energy.”

The leaders of BSEC member states attended a ceremony to sign a Joint Declaration in Istanbul to mark the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

After the ceremony, Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine, Ahmet Necdet Sezer of Turkey and Boris Tadic of Serbia held a joint press conference to summarize the document.


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