On May 23, 2006, the leaders of the GUAM founding Member States gathered at their regular Summit in Kyiv to declare the establishment of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM. The aim of the transformation of the regional initiative into a full-fledged international organization was to deepen and enhance multifaceted economic and humanitarian cooperation and political interaction to ensure peace, stability, and sustainable development in a conflict-torn region of ever-growing strategic significance.

18 years have passed, but the GUAM geography remains the fault line of confrontations, the area of collision of the divergent and conflicting interests of the GUAM states and regional and global players. Instigating conflicts and warmongering on the territories of GUAM Member States to spread instability across the region was and remains a toolkit in the hands of the forces of evil.

The brutal illegal aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in February 2022, aiming at the subjugation of the country to its will and the annihilation of the whole nation, is the culmination of such confrontation. In fact, we are witnessing a genocidal war. The ongoing third year in a raw, terrible, meaningless, exhausting war in front of the eyes of the entire world brought the escalation of tensions to a new, dangerous point of going global.

The case of Ukraine, as well as the cases of all GUAM countries, shows that the proclaimed norms and principles of international law and the system of international relations that were supposed to safeguard the rules-based order appeared to be meaningless, useless, and collapsed.

The examples and experiences of the GUAM Member States provide clear evidence of what outcomes and consequences for humanity could cause the neglect of flagrant violations of international law and order and impunity of perpetrators, the prevalence of the interests of big and mighty over smaller states, and the immorality of global powers and their leaders pursuing their egoistic interests. In international politics, the right to use force, double standards, and appeasement of perpetrators became the norm. It is now apparent that the world can no longer exist without profound changes in the foundations of international order.

The Peace Formula of President V. Zelenskyy is the right step in that direction, and it should be supported by the coalition of willing and all leaders of good will.

One cannot be fully satisfied with the results and accomplishments of 18 years of ODED-GUAM activities. But considering the stormy and turbulent environment in which our countries exist, the mere fact of the organization’s survival can be viewed as an achievement.

We still believe that the ODED-GUAM is a unique and effective regional platform with developed mechanisms and instruments of cooperation uniting friendly nations. It is equipped with powerful initiatives and a strategic vision that can serve not only the national interests of the Member States but also the wider international community. Implementing its flagship initiatives — the GUAM Transport Corridor and the GUAM Free Trade Area — with the support of partner countries and international organizations has the potential to transform the vast geography of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea basins into a zone of peace, cooperation, and prosperity, provided that the external environment is stable and conducive.

As usual, on this day, we remember with gratitude and pay tribute to the GUAM’s founding fathers, and all those who contributed to and supported the organization during its development. We call upon Member States, our partners, and those interested in peace and development in the region to believe in the Organization and spare no effort in supporting it. We are stronger together!