The 16th session of the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly chaired by the Head of the delegation of the Parliament of Ukraine to the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly was held online on January 11, 2024, in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding.

The session was attended by parliamentary delegations of all GUAM Member States.

The national delegations of the Parliamentary Assembly welcomed the holding of its Sixteenth Session and reaffirmed the importance that parliamentarians of the GUAM Member States attach to interaction within the Organization as a reliable platform for inter-parliamentary cooperation on the basis of universally recognized norms and principles of international law, strategic interests and importance of economic cooperation and political interaction.

The Parliamentary Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to the Charter and other foundational documents of the GUAM with a view to strengthening the democratic values, the rule of law, human rights and freedoms, stability, and security, combating international terrorism, aggressive separatism, extremism, and transnational organized crime and achievement of sustainable development and well-being of the peoples of the GUAM Member States.

Against the backdrop of current challenges, the Parliamentary Assembly underlined that cooperation within the GUAM Member States bears even greater significance as they all share common aspiration towards promoting peace and stability in the region.

The Parliamentary Assembly reaffirmed its full support for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of all GUAM Member States within their internationally recognized borders.

The Parliamentary Assembly noted holding of the second Parliamentary Summit of the International Crimea Platform, that took place on October 20-23 in Prague, as an international instrument for the peaceful restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The Parliamentary Assembly was informed by Azerbaijan on the steps taken after the liberation of its internationally recognized territories from Armenia’s military occupation aimed at normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of mutual recognition of and respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of  borders, highlighting that the international community should robustly support direct negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan to achieve normalization of relations in view of the historic window of opportunity emerged following Azerbaijan’s complete restoration of its sovereignty over its Karabakh region.

The Parliamentary Assembly was informed by Georgia that this year marks 15th anniversary after the Russian full-fledged military intervention against Georgia in 2008, which is a somber reminder of beginning of Russia’s direct aggressive policy and the first case of violation of the territorial integrity and attempt to forcefully redraw the borders of a sovereign state by the Russian Federation since the end of Cold War; that Russian Federation continues illegal occupation of Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, its illegal military presence there, as well as the military build-up and frequent military exercises, the illegal process of erecting barbed-wire fences and artificial barriers along the occupation line, restriction of freedom of movement, illegal detentions and kidnappings and ethnic discrimination of Georgian citizens that aggravates already dire security, humanitarian and human rights situation in both occupied region; and that in light of current challenging circumstances endangering security in Europe, it is of particular importance to ensure that Russia implements its international obligations inter alia the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes.

The Parliamentary Assembly was informed by the Republic of Moldova that the position of the country remains unwavering, it strongly condemns the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, and will continue providing all possible support. Since the start of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, Moldova has been tackling unprecedented challenges, including large numbers of refugees, inflation, and hybrid attacks from the Kremlin – energy blackmail, violations of its airspace, election interference, information attacks, and cyberattacks. In this context, following the common aspiration of promoting democratic values, the rule of law and security in the region, Moldova is calling on EU member states to support the European Commission’s recommendation for the opening the accession negotiations at the upcoming European Council summit in December.

The Parliamentary Assembly was informed by Ukraine that the region and the whole world live in new reality of the largest full-scale military invasion since the World War 2. International order – based on the rule of law – must not admit any war crimes, territorial acquisitions by force, nuclear blackmailing, and the use of food and energy resources as weapon; that the vision of Ukraine on how to achieve just and lasting peace is reflected in the Peace Formula of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and a format of working groups on the points of the Peace Formula was launched; and that Ukraine continues to work with its partners on the creation of the Special Tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, so that the Russian Federation be brought to accountability including its crimes against humanity.

The Parliamentary Assembly stressed the importance of international support for ensuring sustainable, resilient, and stable development of the GUAM Member States, which would lay the foundation for the implementation of regional and global transport and energy connectivity projects.

The Parliamentary Assembly emphasized the importance of implementation of key economic projects of GUAM – the creation of FTA and TC. The Parliamentary Assembly welcomed signing of the Joint letter of the GUAM Foreign Ministers to the EU Vice-President, High Commissioner for External Relations, Mr. J. Borrel and welcomed the establishment of the dialogue with the EU initiated by the visit of the GUAM SG to the EC Headquarters on April 27-28, 2023.

The Parliamentary Assembly took note of the ratification process with regard to the Protocol on rules for determining the country of origin of goods to the agreement on establishment of Free Trade Area between the GUAM Participating States, and in anticipation of its soonest completion, called upon the Governments and the business communities of the Member States to employ the set-up mechanisms of the full-fledged FTA functioning  for the development of trade and economic cooperation based on mutual benefit within the framework of GUAM.

The Parliamentary Assembly welcomed entering into force of the GUAM Convention on Mutual Assistance in Consular Matters, aimed at the development of the framework for supporting the rights and interests of nationals of the GUAM Member States in third countries, and noted coordinated efforts taken by the Member States to secure its effective implementation.

The Parliamentary Assembly reaffirmed its intention to take efforts to deepen inter-parliamentary cooperation in order to strengthen and expand partnerships in efforts to secure and security in the region, developing trade, transport and infrastructure, science and technology, customs and border services, law enforcement, disaster and emergency response, culture, education, tourism, youth and sports.

The Parliamentary Assembly took note of the outcome of the joint meeting of the profile committees of the GUAM PA.

The Parliamentary Assembly expressed its gratitude to the Parliament of the Republic of Ukraine 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 Republic of Azerbaijan.

The dates and venue of the Seventeenth Session of the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly in 2024 will be agreed in due course through communication via diplomatic channels.

Adopted on 11 January 2024