.. ABOUT BSEC
A New Organization is Born
The Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact (BSEC) summit formally upgraded the five-year-old regional grouping to international status.
The 11 members of BSEC signed a charter at the summit in Yalta, Ukraine, allowing the group's elevation to an official international organisation.
The BSEC is comprised of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Greece. (6 May 1998, reported by Athens News Agency).
The Black Sea Bank
Thessaloniki will host the Black Sea Bank in January. The Bank will be the main funding institution of a regional organization which after the Yalta meeting got its own charter. The Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact will have 11 member-states. Those countries seek to create a market of 350 million people and develop a mutually advantageous cooperation (6 May 1998, reported by Macedonian Press Agency).
Black Sea Studies Center
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis inaugurated the Black Sea International Studies Center (DIKEMEP) in Athens last night and chaired the first of its two-day meetings. The center will prepare research and conduct studies concerning the achievement of its parent organization, the Black Sea Cooperation Pact, primarily in the economic, industrial and technology sectors. The eleven members of BSEC are Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Turkey. BSEC approved a Greek proposal in 1996 for the center to be housed in Athens. "The ICBS will contribute to promoting the wider goal of BSEC for greater democracy, peace and development in the Black Sea region," Mr. Kranidiotis said in his opening speech to the Center's board. The center will be an independent body, and Greece will help to support it both on an organizational and financial level, also bringing it closer to the European Union, he added. The organization's secretary general, Vassil Baytchev, said that the academic communities of BSEC's member-states could play a primary role in cooperation among governments through the exchange of information, joint programs, and regional cooperation in research and technology. (29 September 1998, reported by Macedonian Press Agency).
(Article from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Since ancient times the Black Sea area has been the cradle of different civilizations, the renowned crossroads between Asia and Europe where people of different nationalities, trades, cultures and religions intermingled. In no way was that process an easy one; periods of peace and tranquillity were followed by protracted conflicts and wars.
But even in that climate the Black Sea area was wellknown for its developed trade relations and contacts. Attempts were undertaken to build bridges of rapprochement. It is sufficient to mention the famous Silk Road which linked the countries of Europe and Asia. A valuable experience of contact among the peoples of the two continents as well as of the cohabitation and mutual enrichment of different cultures has been accumulated.
Only in the last decade of the twentieth century however, when the atmosphere of the cold war, suspicion and mistrust has receded, have the countries of the Black Sea area been able to undertake bold steps in that direction. They could come together and decide how, in the age of the globalization of economies, valuable assets in their possession, such as geographical proximity, common history, cultural bonds and the interdependence of their national economies could be efficiently employed for mutual benefit and prosperity.
The real breakthrough occurred two years ago, when in June 1992 the Heads of State and Government of eleven countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine met upon the invitation of the Government of Turkey in Istanbul. This Summit was successfully crowned with the signing of the historic document:
"Summit Declaration on Black Sea Economic Cooperation."
The day of 25 June 1992 launched the process known to the world today is the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the BSEC has become a symbol for a new regional cooperation model.
The Black Sea Economic Cooperation is based on the principles laid down in the Helsinki Final Act, the follow-up Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) documents and, particularly, in the Paris Charter for a New Europe and on shared values such as democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, prosperity through economic liberty and social justice and equal security for all the Participating States. The goals and principles embodied in the Summit Declaration of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation are in full conformity with the provisions of the United Nations Charter. As a unique and promising model aimed at fostering interaction and harmony among the Participating States, the BSEC will undoubtedly contribute to the creation of a future Europe-wide economic zone and promote mutual understanding, peace and security in the region. One of the basic objectives of the BSEC, proclaimed in the "Summit Declaration", is to ensure that the Black Sea becomes a sea of peace, stability and prosperity, encouraging friendly and good-neighborly relations.
Not less important is the decision of the Heads of State and Government in June 1992 that their economic cooperation be developed in a manner not contravening their obligations and not preventing the promotion of relations of the Participating States with third parties, including international organizations as well as the European Union and cooperation within regional initiatives.
BSEC ministers defer new members decisions
Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council foreign ministers on Wednesday began their meeting in Thessaloniki by examining applications for membership from four new prospective members. Applications to join came from Yugoslavia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uzbekistan and Iran. Discussion however was referred to a future meeting, under the presidency of Moldavia, due to a lack of preparation. Ministers said that the issue was yet right for a decision.
(27-Oct-99 Athens News Agency)