15th BSEC Anniversary Summit kicks off in Istanbul

UPDATED: 19:39, June 25, 2007

The 15th Anniversary Summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Heads of State and Government began in Turkish metropolis of Istanbul on Monday with a meeting of foreign ministers of BSEC countries, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

During their meeting at the Ciragan Palace, foreign ministers will shape up a final declaration and present it to the heads of state of BSEC countries for approval.

BSEC member states believe that the anniversary summit will revive and give a new momentum to the BSEC. Twelve member states and 13 observer states, as well as executives of regional and international organizations will be represented at the summit.

The 15th Anniversary Summit will be chaired by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. The summit itself and the final declaration to be released at the end of the summit are expected to be a milestone as they address the highest political directives for the future of the Black Sea basin and the BSEC.

Meanwhile, Turkish police tightened security measures for the BSEC summit. Airspaces over the routes where guests will use and the Ciragan and Dolmabahce Palaces have been closed to civilian helicopter traffic.

A security corridor has been set up on the Istanbul Strait. Tankers, loaded with hazardous materials, are not allowed to pass through the Istanbul Strait.

On June 25, 1992, heads of state and government of 11 countries signed in Istanbul the Summit Declaration giving birth to the BSEC.

The BSEC is comprised of not only Black Sea littoral states, but also covers a large geography from southeast European to the Balkan and Caucasian countries.

Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, Croatia, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel and the USA are the observer countries.

The BSEC turned into a fully-fledged regional economic cooperation organization as the BSEC Charter, signed on June 5, 1998, was put into force on May 1, 1999.

Source: Xinhua

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