Leaders of Black Sea nations pledge closer cooperation
25, 8:06 AM ET
ISTANBUL, Turkey - The leaders of a group of 11 countries in the Black
Sea region pledged closer cooperation Tuesday, at a summit in Istanbul to
mark the tenth anniversary of the group's foundation.
Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the president of
host nation Turkey which was instrumental in founding the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation in 1992, told delegates that the group offered a
forum to ease tensions in the region.
"If today we see a relatively peaceful and stable environment taking
hold in the Balkans and the Caucasus, the role of BSEC ... should not be
underestimated," Sezer said.
The Turkish president said he hoped that the group would work as a
force for economic development in a region rich in natural resources.
Later, the leaders � including the presidents of Albania, Azerbaijan,
Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine, as well as ministers from
Russia, Armenia and Greece � signed a joint declaration pledging to extend
cooperation in economic, security and cultural areas.
The countries "emphasized their determination to take all the necessary
action to combat terrorism," and promised to set up a joint fund for
regional development projects, and to work in close cooperation with the
European Union ( news
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