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Ukrainian president calls for active role of GUAM
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09:12, July 02, 2008

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko asked GUAM, a regional organization of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova, on Tuesday to be more active in regional affairs, according to reports reaching here.

"The frozen conflicts in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova, are factors of destabilization, so we should intensify their peaceful settlement on principles of territorial integrity," Itar-Tass quoted Yushchenko as saying at the GUAM summit in Batumi, Georgia.

"So far, the Abkhazia, Ossetian and Karabakh settlement negotiations have not been very efficient," he said, referring to Georgian and Azerbaijan's breakaway regions.

Separatist in Abkhazia self-proclaimed independence after bloody conflicts with the Georgian government in the 1990s and an uneasy ceasefire was monitored by peacekeepers from Russia.

Armed conflict broke out in the early 1990s between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region's status after it declared independence, which was not recognized by the international community.

Nagorno-Karabakh, a northwest region in Azerbaijan, was populated mostly by ethnic Armenians. A Russian-brokered ceasefire halted the fighting in 1994, but the dispute remains unresolved.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and delegates from over 20 states, such as Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and representatives of the U.S. Department of State and Japan, attended the summit held in the Caucasus country.

The summit "will assess cooperation between GUAM member countries and outline cooperation priorities for the next year," GUAM Secretary General Valery Chechelashvili said.

Formed in 1997, GUAM was aimed at promoting economic, trade, transport, security and other cooperation among member states.


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