Statement of Ambassador Valeri Chechelashvili on 3rd World Forum On Intercultural Dialogue
Dear High Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express my gratitude for inviting me to such distinguished meeting. I highly appreciate the opportunity to address the Conference that is focused on one of the crucial tasks of the actual world – to promote inter cultural dialogue, which could serve as a solid basis for strengthening trust and understanding and, eventually, pave the way for better world. Responsibility of international organizations to create bridges among cultures and civilizations is difficult to underestimate – particularly in the light of challenges we are currently facing.
But before addressing main topics, I cannot mention enough yesterday’s performance, presented to us by our Azerbaijani hosts. This was a performance full of pain, passion, beauty and hope, presented by brilliant musicians, both orchestra and folk, as well as amazing dancing team. This performance was the best demonstration of bright future of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 10 million populated country with GDP per capita higher than in some EU member states.
A lot of previous speakers mentioned richness of diversity, I completely agree with. In our Organization this is not only a reality, we managed to translate this common asset into tangible results. I mean our common tourist product, we developed together with Japanese government for Japanese tourist market. Idea is to upgrade attractiveness of our region, presenting different cultures and traditions in one product. It worked and thousands of Japanese tourists started to travel to GUAM region. As an outcome, we upgraded tourist attractiveness of our countries through better positioning our diverse region on world tourist map.
And this is in general what we are trying to do – to promote democratic values, human rights, market economy and international cooperation in good faith, eventually to establish space of partnership, to upgrade trust and confidence in the region through the implementation of projects and programs of cooperation.
We don’t have problems with trust and confidence in our Organization, but it is a key problem in contemporary world – lack or even absence of trust.
How could this happen? One of the answers to this difficult question is that international community didn’t react properly to first cases of aggression and occupation, three of our four member states suffered from during decades. I am confident, would we confront violation of recognised norms and principles of international law in the beginning of 90th of the last century, today’s world will be much better.
The reason for current crisis in the international relations is that the very basic system of values and principles has been destroyed, and the trust and understanding has been ruined. The trust between states and nations has been destroyed – this is very dangerous, including for those parties who have initiated this demolition process due to the fact that, as a result, we have found ourselves in a situation with no guarantees provided. We are witnessing dramatic changes in the international order, leading to new set of international relations in Europe and worldwide. This is the new international order in making, and we do not know when the process will be finalised and what kind of new order it will be.
ODED GUAM is an international regional organization which promotes democratic values, having main purposes to ensure a sustainable development, strengthen international and regional security and stability. The GUAM Member States are guided by the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states, inviolability of their internationally recognized borders and non-interference into their internal affairs as well as other universally recognized principles and norms of international law.
These basic norms and principles are challenged today by some important international players. But before addressing these points, I would like to reconfirm that our main principle is to establish a space for civilised partnership in the Black Sea – Caspian Sea region based on the norms and principles of international law, as well as best practice in terms of regional cooperation and European experience.
These activities are based on the solidarity of four member-states, the solid platform formed by our almost coinciding set of foreign policy priorities, as well as the common challenges we are facing. Today, these challenges have become a source of anxiety for a much wider audience due to the annexation of the Crimea and other developments in Eastern Ukraine. With your permission, I’ll elaborate on the latter.
Under current circumstances, international organizations, both global and regional, can provide the unique capacity to restore trust and understanding. In international community, it is difficult for anybody, even strong player, to oppose the overwhelming majority endlessly, and this should motivate activities of international organizations as here chances for success are higher, compared with bilateral format. In addition, the level and quality of the challenges currently at hand require a collective, multilateral effort.
What is the added value of GUAM given the current state of affairs?
Our four member states represent different cultures. Nevertheless, they enjoy friendly and partner bilateral relations, allowing us to consider any sphere of cooperation and to adopt respective important decisions. To name a few, Free Trade Zone, Transport Transit Corridor Concept, Virtual Law Enforcement Centre, Joint Tourist Product, New Energy Sources Cooperation Program, etc.
All our member states suffer from unresolved conflicts, some of which have lasted for decades. We are in the epicentre of problems, which is why our opinion should matter. These conflicts undermine peace, security and cooperation at both the regional and European levels. Triggered from outside and backed by foreign interference, these conflicts could find peaceful resolution exclusively on the basis of the universally recognised norms and principles of international law with strong and consistent support of international community. Respectively, we are strengthening our solidarity and are sparing no efforts to consolidate the support of the international community and to motivate it towards more active engagement in the conflict resolution process. This is unique advantage of GUAM – different cultures united to overcome common challenges.
All of GUAM’s activities are streamlined in order to establish a space of stability and integration in the Black Sea – Caspian Sea region via the implementation of cooperation projects and programs, including both the four lateral ones and those being carried out with the support of external partners.
I cannot mention enough the 69th UN GA Resolution of March 26 of this year on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development — GUAM, the second one acknowledging our Organization’s role and place in the network of regional cooperation, which will contribute to better cooperation with UN specialised agencies, based on our already good practice of cooperation with the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime.
I would like to once again emphasise that the main goal of GUAM continues to be establishing a space of stability and integration in the Black Sea – Caspian Sea region. While implementing this main goal, we are exploring two main avenues of cooperation: 1) the elaboration, signature and implementation of GUAM format multilateral legal instruments, and 2) the generation, elaboration and implementation of GUAM projects and programs.
We believe that this stage of our development is particularly important. We are engaged in active process of generating and implementing of GUAM projects and programs of cooperation, some of them being already implemented, some in the pipeline. It implies further improvement of our culture of cooperation and quality of targets, better interaction at different levels and in different formats. We are open for cooperation with any external partner – being it state, international organization or just legal person, provided this cooperation is based on the norms and principles of international law and principles of GUAM Statutory Documents.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate my gratitude to organizers of this important meeting for the opportunity to address this distinguished audience.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman