On September 26, a new round of U.S.-GUUAM dialogue at the Ministerial level was held during the General Debates of the 58 Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
High representatives of the GUUAM member states and the U.S. discussed U.S.-GUUAM cooperation and progress on the U.S.-GUUAM Framework Program.
Participants agreed that each project under the U.S.-GUUAM Framework Program should address concrete and specific goals, and enumerated the following points:
The GUUAM Trade and Transport Facilitation (TTF) project aims to address:
- broadening inter-state and interagency cooperation on the facilitation and securing of trade and transport;
- implementing and applying common principles of trade and transport facilitation that meet international norms; and
- improving and making more efficient border and customs controls at state borders and internal customs terminals. The working group in Kyiv will conclude initial steps for this program in mid-December. GUUAM states have agreed to begin implementation by mid-January 2004. The U.S. reaffirmed its intent to continue support for this project geared to concrete actions taken by the GUUAM states.
The GUUAM Virtual Center and Interstate Information-Management System project aims to address:
- the exchange of law enforcement information among participating states;
- combating specific types of transborder crime in the region
- facilitating cooperative, cross-border investigations led by intelligence-driven task forces and
4) providing for security and effective functioning of trade and transport corridors. The states of GUUAM have agreed to share the burden of these task forces by serving as project coordinators. The Government of Azerbaijan will lead the task force on anti-terrorism and financial crime; the Government of Moldova on human trafficking; the Government of Ukraine on small arms-light weapons, weapons of mass destruction and dual-use items; and the Government of Georgia will lead the regional narcotics effort. The U.S. reaffirmed its intent to continue support also for this project geared to concrete actions taken by the GUUAM states.
Assistant Secretary Jones encouraged the GUUAM countries to sustain their serious engagement in working groups in Baku and Kyiv in order to advance GUUAM’s projects on Trade and Transport Facilitation and the Virtual Law Enforcement Center and Interstate Information Management System. Assistant Secretary Jones noted that these projects will have concrete benefits for the people of the GUUAM member states.
Participants underlined the importance of establishing an inter-parliamentary body to provide legislative support to the Framework Program, and upgrading the functional capacity of the GUUAM Information Office to administer and coordinate the organization’s projects and the daily flow of information, as well as maintain a history of GUUAM’s activity and a record of agreed-upon actions. The United States welcomes and supports the decision of GUUAM to seek observer status in the United Nations General Assembly. As two organizations committed to serving many of the same goals, observer status will allow GUUAM to contribute in a wider context to the efforts and activities of the United Nations.