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New Prospects for GUAM

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 20
Not very long ago GUAM as an entity appeared to be doomed; it was one Russia's targets for destruction and the process of dismantling it seemed inevitable following January's victory of Viktor Yanukovich as a president of Ukraine. He stated openly that his country would withdraw from the organisation if there is no profit in it. In addition Moldova was not very active in the organisation. Latest developments however show that there may be new prospects for GUAM.

During the acting President of Moldova's recent visit to Georgia the possibility of further activation of work of the organisation was discussed in areas such as transportation and energy. Accepting Belarus into the organisation was also considered, which is why Saakashvili invited Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to Georgia. Saakashvili and Gimpu considered whether to convene a GUAM countries' summit before the end of this year; the last summit was held in 2007.

It is already public knowledge that Ukrainian president Yanukovich will visit Georgia before the end of the year, and presumably the GUAM issue will be touched upon during this visit. Kiev is ready to participate in GUAM if it will be concerned with positively resolving various economic issues. Georgia’s ambassador to Ukraine Grigol Katamadze has mentioned that Ukraine’s PM Nikolay Azarov, defence minister Mikhail Ezhel and the Security Council secretary, Larissa Bogatirova are expected to visit Georgia in near future.

Georgian-Ukraine relations were apparently a bit strained following the election of Yanukovich as president of Ukraine. This was largely due to the fact that Georgia openly backed Yulia Timoshenko. However we must adjust to the election outcome as Georgia and Ukraine share many common issues: in business, trade and transiting energy.

There is also the significant fact that despite his pro-Moscow position Yanukovich refused to recognise Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region as independent entities, for which Tbilisi is of course most grateful. As for Russia – Belarus, their relations have recently strained. Despite all this, Georgia should not be overly optimistic about reanimating GAUM. However, it is important that it is revived and encourages regional cooperation among the partner countries and probably also with Belarus.