On September 16, 2005, the sixth consecutive Ministerial meeting of GUAM-USA was held in New York on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.
The GUAM Foreign Ministers and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried discussed a wide range of issues, including GUAM-USA cooperation and progress in the implementation of the GUAM-USA Framework Program. The participants focused on GUAM’S accomplishments since the last GUAM-USA meeting, held on 22 April 2005 in Chisinau.
The ministers welcomed the development of the U.S.-GUAM Framework Projects. Since the Chisinau Summit, the US sponsored Euro-Atlantic Advisory Team has been assisting the GUAM counties hi implementing the GUAM Virtual Centre on Combating Terrorism, Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking and Other Dangerous Types of Crime, and GUUAM Interstate Information Management System (VC/IIMS) and Trade and Transport Facilitation (TTF) projects. In July, the GUAM organization held meetings of the Working Group on Combating Terrorism, Organized Crime, and Drug Trafficking and the TTF Steering Committee to further coordinate the development of the national structures for implementing the two projects.
During the first two weeks of September, the GUAM countries completed the second phase of the Operation Harmony counter-narcotics operation in cooperation with the Southeast European Cooperation Initiative’s Law Enforcement Center and the first phase of the TTF border reform process was initiated with the start of assessment missions performed by US and Lithuanian Customs advisers.
The ministers also recognized the importance of further development of the two projects. Over the next 6 months, the GUAM countries expect to plan and develop law enforcement operations for countering the trafficking in narcotics and the trafficking in persons in the region. By November meeting of the Working Group on Combating Terrorism, Organized Crime, and Drug Trafficking, the GUAM countries will have completed their inter-agency offices for the Virtual Center and UMS and will continue the development of the Regional Task Force structure that will conduct additional law enforcement exercises.
As part of the TTF project, the GUAM countries will use the TTF border assessments to develop a regional training program to address gaps in the GUAM countries’ ability to develop the best international practices at the region’s key ports of entry.
Assistant Secretary Fried commended GUAM on jointly drafting and adopting the Regional Strategy and Action Plans for two projects developed under the GUUAM-USA Framework Program:
- The Trade and Transport Facilitation Project of the GUAM States (TTF).
- The GUAM Virtual Center and the GUAM Interstate Information Management System (VC/IIMS).
The Foreign Ministers of GUAM States expressed their gratitude to the U.S. Government for providing technical and advisory assistance in the development of the draft documents during the experts’ meetings in Kyiv and Baku.
The two sides affirmed the importance of urgent implementation of the TTF and VC/IIMS projects. The U.S. Department of State expressed its continued commitment to supporting the next steps taken by GUAM to implement the TTF and VC/IIMS projects.
The GUAM States expressed their interest and intention to cooperate with the European Union in the sphere of implementation of the projects laid down within the GUAM framework. The US also welcomed the engagement of EU in the GUAM activities and underlined the importance of EU support in implementing GUAM projects and programs. The willingness to further proceed with the dialogue within the format of the GUAM-EU and GUAM-EU-USA was declared a priority.
The participants agreed that terrorism represents one of today’s most dangerous threats to international peace and stability. In this regard, implementation of GUAM VC/IIMS projects, with the assistance of the US Department of State and the EU, is of paramount importance.
The participants expressed their readiness to continue the political and practical support for development of GUAM and GUAM nation’ cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic community and its institutions.
The United States highly appreciated GUAM’S receipt of Observer Status in the United Nations General Assembly and declared its intention to support the further development of GUAM cooperative activities in the framework of the UN General Assembly.
Participants underlined the importance of establishing an inter-parliamentary body to provide legislative support to the Framework Program.
It was agreed that transformation of GUAM into international organization, including creation of the GUAM Secretariat on the basis of the GUAM Information Office in Kiev and the development of GUAM partnership institution, are of utmost importance for achievement of the goals envisaged in the Chisinau Declaration.