Azerbaijan - Guam
The Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM is an international regional organization established by the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. First, GUAM was launched as the grouping of these four states upon signing of the Joint Communique by the Presidents of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in Strasbourg on 10 October 2007. In the Communiqué, the Presidents underscored the need for strengthening quadrilateral cooperation for the sake of a stable and secure Europe guided by the principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of state frontiers, mutual respect, cooperation, democracy, supremacy of law, and respect for human rights.
The first GUAM Summit held in Yalta on 7 June 2001, played a vital role in the structuralization and institutionalization of the organization. The Yalta GUAM Charter signed by the Heads of States, fixed the objectives, principles and directions of the cooperation between the participating states.
The GUAM Summit held in Chisinau on 22 May 2005, the participating states demonstrated the unanimity of view in the issues of democratic society, European integration, economic development, regional stability and security. The Heads of States stressed the necessity of the establishment of an international organization on the basis of GUAM and, for this purpose, passed relevant decision to the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the GUAM states.
The mentioned decision of the Heads of State was implemented during the Kiev GUAM Summit on 22-23 May 2006. Thus, the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM was founded on the basis of the grouping existing from 1997. In the Kiev Summit, the Presidents adopted the Charter of GUAM. According the GUAM Charter, the main purposes of GUAM are promoting democratic values, ensuring sustainable development, strengthening international and regional security and stability, deepening European integration, and expansion of cooperation between the participating states in economic and humanitarian spheres.
Furthermore, the following principles and tasks are set forth in the Kyiv Declaration on establishment of the Organization for democracy and economic development – GUAM:
- enhancement of democracy, adherence to the rule of law, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, economic development of States and assuring of security and stability;
- enhancement of joint actions to support sustainable development of the GUAM States through dynamic economic growth, social concord and protection of the environment;
- active cooperation in settlement of unresolved conflicts in a number of GUAM States that undermine sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of those States, impeding the full-scale implementation of democratic reforms and economic development of the region, negatively impact European integration processes and challenge the world community;
- further enhancement of cooperation in combating international terrorism, extremism and aggressive separatism and other related negative phenomena;
- deepening of economic, commercial and transport cooperation of the GUAM States and declare the beginning of the implementation of the Free Trade Area Agreement;
- promotion of efforts to ensure energy security;
- utmost use of the international transit capacity of the GUAM States, etc.
Projects implemented within the framework of GUAM:
As the practical expression of the cooperation among GUAM States, the implementation of the projects for establishment of Virtual Center and Interstate Information Analysis System (VC/IIAS) and Trade and Transport Facilitation (TTF) are underway. While TTF is aimed at enhancement and intensification of cooperation between GUAM States in the fields of trade and transport, VC/IIAS ensures the development, effective and secure functioning of trade and transport through exchange of information and other operational measures. Both projects are the key elements of GUAM-USS Framework Programm and they are intended to be implemented simultaneously. Within the framework of VC/IIAS, National Information Analysis Centers and Working Groups have been established in each GUAM State and the relevant experts of the law enforcement agencies carry out preliminary exchange of information. For the purpose of implementation of TTF project, GUAM States continue quadrilateral cooperation under their national plans.
Also, it should be noted that, in the Kiev Summit the Heads of State of GUAM States declared the implementation of the Agreement on Creation of Free Trade Zone started and relevant steps are being taken for this purpose.
Cooperation between GUAM States on unresolved conflicts:
The “Joint Declaration of the heads of state of the Organization for democracy and economic development – GUAM on the issue of conflict settlement”, signed in Kiev Summit, states:
- settlement of conflicts on the territories of the GUAM States shall be carried out exclusively on the basis of respect to sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of these states, and is one of the priority objectives of cooperation within GUAM;
- the territory of a state may not be a subject of acquisition or military occupation;
- separatism and disintegration lack of prospects. the use of force and the practice of ethnic cleansing and territorial seizures are incompatible with the universal and European values, the principles and ideals of peace, democracy, stability and regional cooperation;
- it is important to consolidate efforts of the GUAM States and the international community to settle conflicts on their territories by means of re-integration of uncontrolled territories into the states that they are part of, return of forcibly displaced population to the areas of permanent residency and ensuring peaceful coexistence of various ethnic groups within the internationally recognized borders of the states, development of civil society, restoration of destroyed infrastructure on these territories, and also, use of communications to the benefit of all parties;
- it is important to demilitarization of conflict zones and establishment of security in these zones with the help of multinational peacemaking forces deployed therein under UN or OSCE auspices for providing conditions for return of population and peaceful coexistence of ethnic communities;
- the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of GUAM shall be entrusted with the task to develop concrete measures and steps with the purpose of implementation of provisions of this Declaration.
A number of measures, aimed at settlement of conflicts in the territories of GUAM States, are being carried out. Thus, an agreement on efficient action jointly with UN and the organizations within UN have been reached by GUAM States, and the plans of actions of the Permanent Representations to international organizations have been adopted. Because of the works done, item 42 “Protracted conflicts in the GUAM area (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) and their implications for international peace, security and development” was included in the Agenda of the sixty-first session of the UN General Assembly. On 5 December 2007, a draft resolution of the same title was officially disseminated for review in the UN General Assembly. Currently, consultations on adoption of the resolution are ongoing among GUAM States.
Azerbaijan Chairmanship in GUAM commenced in Baku Summit on 19 July 2007 and lasted till Batumi Summit on 1 July 2008.
In the Baku Summit held under the slogan of “GUAM: Bringing Continents Together”, the long-term priorities of the development of the organization were defined, its consolidated institutional structure and advantages of cooperation with the partners states in “GUAM+” format were underlined.
These strategic topics, set forth in the Chairmanship programme of the Republic of Azerbaijan, constituted a basis for activities of the Organization for 2007-2008. Azerbaijan Chairmanship is characterized by the strengthening of the international position of GUAM and qualitative progress of the organization through coordinated efforts of the participating states and the Secretariat.
The idea of overall integration in the region and establishment of security space, which was the key idea of the Baku Summit, was the main duty of Azerbaijan Chairmanship Guided by this idea, the attention of the state holding Chairmanship was drawn to strengthening of the regional significance of GUAM and enhancement of international support, consolidation of participating states and development of cooperation system within the Organization.
In the Baku Summit, the Council of the Heads of GUAM States adopted the GUAM Strategy for Sectoral Cooperation Development, where the main directions of sectoral cooperation within the framework of the Organization were laid down.
The one-year Chairmanship of Azerbaijan was quite active. Among the achievements of the Chairmanship of our republic, the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of GUAM (CMFA) held after the Baku Summit, in New York on 27 September 2007, GUAM-USA and GUAM-Poland meetings, the jubilee Summit of on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of GUAM held in GUAM+ format, in Vilnius on 10 October 2007, GUAM-USA meeting in Washington on 30 October 2007, regular session of the CMFA of GUAM in Madrid on 29 November, GUAM-Japan meeting in Tokyo on 4-5 December 2008, dissemination of the draft resolution “Protracted conflicts in the GUAM area (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) and their implications for international peace, security and development” in the UN General Assembly, experts meeting of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of GUAM and EU states in “Group of GUAM Friends in the European Union” format aimed at enhancement of GUAM-EU relations, GUAM-Council of Europe meeting on 19 March 2008, International Conferences on Basic principles for the settlement of conflicts in the territories of GUAM countries on 15-16 April 2008, “GUAM-Transit” on 29-30 April 2008, and “GUAM Development Strategy” on 29-30 May 2008 in Baku and other events may be distinguished.
The detailed information about the activities of the Organization during Azerbaijan Chairmanship is provided in the Report approved by the Council of Heads of GUAM States in the Batumi Summit.