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05.04.2013Candidate for prime ministerial post must be nominated by the end of next week, presumes Moldovan Parliament Speaker and Democratic Party leader Marian Lupu.



22.03.2013The ex-President of Moldova, Chairman of the Communist Party MP Vladimir Voronin says he doesn’t really see a particular need for holding consultations with the Liberal Democratic Party to launch the procedure of discharging Parliament Speaker Marian Lupu.





22.07.2002 GUUAM: TO BE OR NOT TO BE… (A commentary by INFOTAG political editor Anatolii Golea)


The GUAM Summit of last Saturday aroused genuine interest on the part of many. A Union of five countries, which from the moment of its creation was seen as an alternative for the CIS and its undisputed leader – Russia, never really come to establishing itself as a fully-fledged organization. Nonetheless, despite the skeptical forecasts and some efforts made by the Kremlin to discredit the union at the outset of its existence, GUAM is still very much alive going on the sixth year of its life.

Emerged in 1997, the union started off by enjoyed active support from the US striving to see its new body as leverage for controlling the oil and gas fields of the Caspian region and reducing the influence of Russian Federation over its member-countries. Despite the cautious attitude from Russia, in 1999 GUAM got itself a new member in the form of Uzbekistan adding another “U” to its acronym. Remarkably, but in those days leaders of GUUAM felt just as comfortable meeting in the United States as they were in the Ukraine. Kiev and Tbilisi who had principal contentions with Russia, tried to do everything in their power to preserve and consolidate the union, while the other three members used the situation to extract economic benefits for themselves by making friends with Washington steering clear of any quarrels with Moscow.

Despite all this, the effectiveness of GUUAM cooperation left much to be desired. Following the election of Vladimir Putin President of Russia, the Kremlin’s approach became milder, however, that also didn’t make any tangible contribution to its progress.

After Moldovan Communists were voted into power in 2001, the Chisinau’s stance in GUUAM also sustained certain changes in a sense that President Voronin wasn’t shy making open curtsies towards Russia along with unambiguous statements about Moldova’s intentions to part company with the union. However, during the Yalta Summit nothing of that kind really happened. Contrary to that, Voronin stated that ‘Moldova will always support and develop mutually beneficial cooperation included that within GUUAM’ and furthermore, in order to purge himself of any suspicion on the part of the Kremlin, suggested that Russia be invited to sit in on the talks as an observer.

Last year, Georgia and the Ukraine not only managed to retain the coalition but also convince their partners to set up a permanent GUUAM organ in Kiev, which in their words might have stimulated the effectiveness of the organization.

In a year that followed, little was heard about GUUAM, except for numerous adjourned meetings of its national coordinators and Foreign Ministers. The Union got back in a spot light again in late June, when the last GUUAM entrant Uzbekistan officially announced of its decision to leave the organization and many henceforth expected to see the initial abbreviation restored. In order to somehow smooth over the embarrassing situation on the threshold of a new summit, it was decided to launch an opening of the GUUAM permanent press-office in Kiev.

In his turn, at the opening of Yalta Summit, the Ukrainian President Vladimir Kuchma said that Uzbekistan was presented at the meeting by Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the Ukraine Shamansur Shakhalimov. At the end of the summit it became clear however, that the latter was just a trick played in order to retain the acronym as it is, for the Ambassador had no authority to sign on behalf of his country any of the adopted nine documents.

One still has to admit here that that past summit became by far the most productive in terms of signed documents, among which were Declaration of joint efforts to ensure stability and security in the region, Final Communiquй, Resolution on GUUAM observer-countries’ status, Agreement on free trade zone, Resolution on Foreign Ministers’ Council, Agreement on cooperation in cultural sphere, and Agreement on GUUAM Economic Board.

Ukrainian President Kuchma tried not to conceal satisfaction with the results of summit saying that they ‘shed confidence considering that this time were signed documents on the topics that previously couldn’t even be approached.’

He also noted the growing interest towards GUUAM on the part of other countries; for the first time the summit was attended by international observers from European Union, UN, United States, Turkey, Poland, Iran, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Brazil and Russia. Kuchma expressed the assumption that shortly Romania and Bulgaria might join the ranks of GUUAM member-countries, in which he was supported by Georgian Leader Eduard Shevardnadze.

However, in many’s opinion, the results of the summit shed no light on certain issues at all and left some of the questions completely unanswered. More over, as one of the quests later suggested, ‘the GUUAM summit failed to dispel the doubts regarding the future of this organization itself.’

Similar mood was openly expressed by Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin.

‘The withdrawal of Uzbekistan, - said Voronin – is a worrying symptom for our organization, and a stimulus for reassessment of its development and existence prospects. The same concern has been expressed by the US leadership either, who fear that this may indicate the atrophy of GUUAM’s potential. Personally, I can’t help subscribing to this point of view.’

This time around he was more diplomatic than a year ago refraining from sharp statements about leaving the organization, but only saying that ‘Chisinau has enough grounds for concern as regards the viability of GUUAM as a whole’, as well as ‘in connection with the role and place of Moldova in this organization and in the relationship framework it instills.’

Speaking at the summit, Voronin noted that ‘[so far] the GUUAM economic integration has been more of an artificial nature.’

‘And the confirmation of that, - held Moldovan President – is the shrinking trade turnover between its member countries. It is obvious that for now, there haven’t been determined any priority destination for these economic relations.’

He openly declared his preference towards the development of cooperation within the CIS, as opposed to any other alternative formations.

‘In our view, - maintained Voronin – the entire spectrum of economic, social and cultural problems discussed within GUUAM finds its just as full and profound reflection in the programs developed at the CIS.’

As a counter to the optimism expressed by his Ukrainian colleague, Moldovan leader remained doubtful about the practical results of such summits.

In his words, rarely, the practical situation is reminiscent of the strong and full of optimism wording exhibited at this sort of meetings.

The Summit thus produced yet another confirmation of the fact that the principle misunderstanding between Moldova and Ukraine is still there. The face-to-face meeting between their presidents last Friday lasted 45 minutes and was ended by a brief statement saying that the parties discussed topics of common interest. President Kuchma also noted the importance of creating free trade zone in order to put into practice the effective mechanism of GUUAM cooperation.

At the same time, nothing was said about the burning issue of establishing joint Moldo-Ukrainian customs check points and the settlement of Transnistrian conflict in the light of recent proposal put forward by OSCE. Obviously, without resolving these problems one cannot expect to develop civilized partnership between Ukraine and Moldova, let alone some regional projects that one way or another affect the interests of Transnistria.

The evidence of uncleared obstacles between Chisinau and Kiev was turned up at the final press conference. Responding to the question about transportation of the utilities from the Caspian Sea to Europe via Moldova, Leonid Kuchma said that he sees participation of Chisinau in creation of such corridors even if they don’t pass through the Moldovan territory.

To which Vladimir Voronin replied that Moldovan side would be interested and do everything it can to ensure that these corridors do pass through its territory, otherwise ‘what is the purpose and benefit for Moldova from all these GUUAM activities?’

The Yalta Summit have demonstrated one more time that the international climate has changed in a sense that, if previously the large countries like US and Russia saw this organization only as a tool to exercise their own interests, now the relationship between the countries, including these two, has undergone drastic changes.

This new system of relationship envisages only two options for GUUAM’s development. The first scenario sees the organization disintegrate, in which case Moldova might be the first to abandon the sinking ship and thus set an example for the others to follow. The organization won’t simply bear the loss of another member.

Under the second scenario, GUUAM may consolidate on the back on new coming members – first of all Romania and Bulgaria – which are both rather interested in having the oil and gas traffic coming from the Caspian region right through their doors. Considering the ‘beef’ going between Chisinau and Bucharest, Romania might just do so to counter the Moldovan opposition.

With all the clarity of dream, the following 12 months [until the next summit meeting that is also to be held in Yalta] shall prove decisive.

A considerable act in this play has been assigned to Azerbaijan, not only because it is going to chair the upcoming summit, but also because Baku has a final say in the distribution of oil, many of the GUUAM members and observers are so eager to benefit from. In the end, it is the realization of these oil transportation projects that will be able to answer the ultimate GUUAM question: To be or not to be…?

MAIB promotii