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GUAM trade turnover doubles from 2005

By M. Alkhazashvili
Monday, June 2
Annual trade turnover between members of the Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova (GUAM) regional organization has doubled since 2005, GUAM secretary general Valeri Chechelashvili said at a development strategy conference in Baku last week.

In 2005 total trade between member states was USD 1.5 billion dollars, and was USD 3 billion at the end of 2007.

Trade turnover this year is expected to grow to USD 4 billion, with the target for ten years’ time set at USD 10 billion, Chechelashvili said.

The secretary general also reiterated that GUAM members are united in their foreign policy goals and that the organization “aims to achieve stability in the Caspian and Black Sea regions and to unify reintegration capacities of member countries,” according to Azerbaijani news agency APA.

Over the past few years GUAM has been pushing for greater international attention towards frozen conflicts among its member states and has appealed to foreign governments and international organizations to assist in their settlement.

At last week’s conference Chechelashvili said GUAM has seen success on this front. “Recent adoption of two resolutions on Azerbaijan’s occupied territories and on the situation in Abkhazia proved that our position is gaining weight,” he said.

Meanwhile a Georgian Foreign Ministry representative at the conference, Davit Dondua, emphasized the importance of energy security.

“GUAM countries can play a role of transit between Asia and Europe,” he said.

Secretary general Chechelashvili also said GUAM will discuss setting up a regional bank over the next eighteen months.

“Creation of the regional bank is quite not an easy question and, according to my estimate, development of its scheme and concept will demand from a year to a year and a half,” Chechelashvili said.

GUAM was set up in 1997 as a consultative forum. Azerbaijan currently holds the rotating presidency.