Seventeen years ago today, on 23/05/06, the leaders of the GUAM Member States gathered in Kyiv to announce their decision to transform the GUAM initiative, launched in 1997, into a full-fledged international organization under a new title – the Organization for Democracy & Economic Development – GUAM, with the Headquarters and Permanent International Secretariat based in Kyiv.

The Summit adopted the Kyiv Declaration, the Charter, and other documents laying the foundations of the new dynamic regional grouping aimed at transforming through the means of economic cooperation and political interaction, their geography into a long-awaited zone of peace, collaboration, and prosperity, integrated into an international community.

During this period, the cooperation in the framework of the ODED-GUAM has passed through its ups and downs in an extremely harsh and hostile external environment. Our nations lived through many imposed on their conflicts, wars, occupations, and annexation of their territories. Today GUAM MS are passing through the most dramatic and decisive period in their modern history. Through fierce struggles in defence of their independence and territorial integrity, nations are fighting to prove their rights to exist, be the owners of their destiny and decide on their future by themselves.

Today we are marking this date amidst the most brutal, ugly, inhuman, and senseless aggression of the RF against Ukraine.

Most importantly, regardless of all the above difficulties, the ODED-GUAM remained firm and steadfast to its principles and values, and the declared goals and objectives are even more valid and important. Friendly nations and strategic partners have developed a common and shared vision, and through it – joint initiatives and projects of national and international significance.

As always, on this day, we remember and pay tribute to the founders of GUAM for their vision, their successors, who took the relay and developed initiative into an organization, and all those who contributed to the cooperation along the way. We firmly believe that GUAM will play an essential role in the post-war and post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction of our nations and this vast and critical region, becoming the pillar of regional security and stability and an important, integral part of the European connectivity and security architecture.