On December 21, 2021, chaired by the head of the delegation of the Parliament of Georgia to the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly, the 14th session of the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly was held by videoconference.
The session was attended by parliamentary delegations of all GUAM Member States, as well as the Baltic Assembly as a guest.
The national delegations of the Parliamentary Assembly welcomed the holding of its Fourteenth Session, which was held in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding, confirmed the importance that parliamentarians of the GUAM Member States attach to interaction within the Organization as a reliable platform for inter-parliamentary collaboration based on adherence to universally recognized norms and principles of international law, strategic interests and importance of trade and economic cooperation and political interaction.
Responding to the challenges of the time, the Parliamentary Assembly discussed the current state of affairs in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic in the GUAM Member States and positively assessed the measures taken by governments to contain its spread, based on the accumulated experience of countering previous waves of disease. In particular, progress was noted in carrying out mass vaccination of the population and providing the necessary medical care to the sick.
Given the long-term nature of the pandemic, the Assembly stressed the need to support socio-economic development on the part of states, especially to provide assistance to the most affected sectors, including the provision of fiscal incentives and increased access to credit.
The Parliamentary Assembly welcomed the adoption of the resolution entitled «Ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access for all countries to vaccines in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic» by the UN General Assembly on 16th December 2021, upon the initiative of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in its capacity as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Parliamentary Assembly stressed the importance of coordinating international efforts to counter the pandemic and overcome its socio-economic consequences, noting the timely and effective decision of the WHO and the WTO in terms of eliminating barriers to the movement of medicines across customs borders, as well as the IMF and the EU to ensure access to credit resources and obtaining direct targeted financial assistance. The Parliamentary Assembly also stressed the importance of implementation of UN relevant resolutions on ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access for all countries to vaccines in response to the coronavirus disease and pandemic.
Reaffirming the decisions taken at its Thirteenth Session, the Parliamentary Assembly emphasized the solidarity of the member states in achieving their common goal of resolving conflicts in the GUAM area solely on the basis of universally recognized principles and norms of international law, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders.
The Georgian Delegation informed the Parliamentary Assembly about aggravated security, humanitarian and human rights situation in the occupied regions of Georgia, gross violations of the EU-mediated 2008 Cease-fire agreement by the occupying forces in particular the military build-up of armed troops, illegal «borderization» along ABL, arbitrary detentions and kidnappings of Georgian citizens.
The Parliamentary Assembly welcomed and supported post-conflict rehabilitation, reconstruction and reintegration efforts of the Republic of Azerbaijan after the signing of the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020 and reiterated that there is no alternative to building inter-State relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on norms and principles of international law, in particular, principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of states for the sustainable peace and security in the South Caucasus.
The Parliamentary Assembly noted the holding of the Crimean Platform Summit as an international instrument for the peaceful restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
At the same time, the Assembly expressed concern about the emergence of new security threats in and around the GUAM space, related in particular to the increased military build-up in the Black Sea region. The Parliamentary Assembly underlined the significance of international support for ensuring peace and stability in the region.
The Parliamentary Assembly stressed the importance of international support for ensuring stable and sustainable development of the GUAM Member States, which would lay the foundation for the implementation of global transport and energy projects, the importance of which goes beyond the region.
In this regard, the Assembly took note of the proposals contained in the «Joint Staff Working Document: Recovery, resilience and reform: post 2020 Eastern Partnership priorities».
The Assembly especially emphasized possibilities to extend to the interested participating countries the advantages of the EU Single Market, joining the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), reducing retail prices for international roaming by at least 80 %, by applying the Regional Roaming Agreement, implementing an indicative plan for expanding the TEN-T network and its regular updating, expanding their participation in joint programs.
The Parliamentary Assembly emphasizes their importance for the implementation of key economic projects of GUAM – the creation of FTA and TC. Taking into account the EU’s experience in the development of the TEN-T network, the provisions of bilateral agreements with the GUAM Member States, the Assembly calls on the European side to cooperate in preparing a feasibility study of the GUAM transport corridor in order to accelerate the development of the project and ensure EU standards in its further implementation.
The Assembly noted the results of the Sixth Eastern Partnership Summit. The Parliamentary Assembly highlighted the importance of further advancement of the EU Eastern Partnership initiative, based on its core principles of shared ownership, responsibility, inclusivity, differentiation and mutual accountability, as well as allowing for the development of relations with the interested participating countries, based on mutual readiness to strengthen political association and deepen economic integration within this format + interaction proposed in the joint statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the GUAM Member States of Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The Parliamentary Assembly, stressing the paramount importance of the accelerated implementation of key projects of creation of the GUAM Transport Corridor and the GUAM Free Trade Area, noted the readiness of the member states to sign an additional Protocol to the FTA Agreement and supported initiatives aimed at digital transformation and the introduction of innovative technologies, particularly on utilization of blockchain technologies and mutual recognition of authorized economic operators, as well as development of the GUAM digital transport corridor.
The Parliamentary Assembly reaffirmed its intention to make efforts to deepen inter-parliamentary cooperation in order to strengthen and expand partnerships in trade, transport and infrastructure, science and technology, customs and border services, law enforcement, disaster and emergency response, culture, education, tourism, youth and sports, highlighting the tasks of fulfilling the agreed priorities of cooperation with the Baltic Assembly for 2020-2023.
The Parliamentary Assembly took note of the results of the meetings of the profile committees of the GUAM PA and reports on their work.
The Parliamentary Assembly expressed its gratitude to the Parliament of Georgia and the Secretariat of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM for assistance in holding the session of the Parliamentary Assembly.
The Parliamentary Assembly decided to transfer the Chairmanship of the GUAM PA to the Republic of Moldova.
The dates and venue of the Fifteenth Session of the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly in 2022 will be agreed through diplomatic channels.
Accepted on 21 December 2021.