The political life of the former USSR is still going on, although it went into the background due to the World Cup games in Korea and Japan. So, it seems that the countries of the former USSR were entering the new stage of the international relations – the processes of integration and decomposition are in full swing. Another organization is breaking into pieces: the republic of Uzbekistan announced that it was pulling out from GUUAM (incorporates Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldavia). The leaders of GUUAM countries had big hopes for this organization. A lot of experts believed that GUUAM was like an alternative to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), but without Russia’s participation. The aspiration to contradict to the Russian influence was actually the base of this organization.
GUUAM was set up on October 10, 1997, during the summit of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. It was originally called GUAM, Uzbekistan was not there, it joined only in April of 1999, at the NATO summit in Washington.
It is worth mentioning that the establishment of the new organization was welcomed and supported by Washington, which was not a surprise, because GUUAM was going to get as close to NATO as possible. The White House expressed its readiness to support the organization financially too. However, it is hard to say, if that help was generous or not. The US Department of State assigned $45 million “for the development of the organization” in October of the year 2002. The money was apparently used in a very inefficient way: the cooperation in the economic and political fields remained only on paper. Any attempts to give an incentive to GUUAM’s development failed, although the organization obtained the international status in the year 2001.
Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said Uzbekistan's participation in GUUAM was dictated with the aspiration to be integrated in the multilateral economic cooperation process. The minister added that there had not been any results achieved after four years of membership, that is why Uzbekistan decided to leave GUUAM. “Uzbekistan does not see any point of its membership in this organization, and now we are going to concentrate on the development of friendly and mutually-beneficial relations with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldavia,” – said the minister.
The minister’s words about the development of bilateral relations are rather significant. It deems that the countries of the former USSR were disappointed in various international organizations like CIS or GUUAM, and now they concentrate more on the development of bilateral relations. Russia is also on the list: there has been a bilateral agreement concluded recently with the republic of Kazakhstan, on joint development of oil and gas deposits in the Caspian region. There are other organizations like GUUAM, but the development of bilateral relations has a sense for each single state.
Here is another curious moment. US Undersecretary of State for Europe and Asia arrived in Uzbekistan on June 14. The American diplomat has already had a meeting with Uzbekistan's foreign minister, stressing it over and over again that the USA attached importance to the cooperation with Uzbekistan and lauded its help in the struggle with terrorism. This acknowledgment costs ten GUUAMs altogether.
The future of GUUAM, or of GUAM, to be more precise, is quite definite: the organization will die, although there is a possibility for another one to appear.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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