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GUAM marks its 20th anniversary: Will it become EAEU’s arch-rival?

As GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) Organization for Democracy and Economic Development marks its 20th anniversary, the foreign ministers of the Organization met in Tbilisi yesterday. Following the meetings, foreign ministers Mikheil Janelidze, Elmar Mammadyarov, Andrei Galbur and Pavel Klimkin signed a joint communique reaffirming their commitment to continue close cooperation, focusing on the relations between the peoples, development of democracy and enhancement of economic relations of the four countries.

Recall that under GUAM Statute, the major goals of the Organization are to ensure supremacy of the law and human rights protection, enhance international and regional security and stability, develop social and economic, transport, energy, scientific and technical, and humanitarian capacities, as well as boost cooperation in areas of common interests.

After the meeting, GUAM Secretary General Altai Efendiyev and the foreign ministers held a joint press conference. Addressing those present, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said: “Today, we have evaluated not only the past 20 years. We should make this vision a part of our common strategy that will take the Organization to a new level and enhance our cooperation.”

Andrei Galbur, the foreign minister of Moldova, the country that will assume GUAM chairmanship in 2018, in turn, said: “It is important that we keep developing GUAM. Our basic principles are development of economy and democracy…Next year, Moldova will assume the chairmanship of GUAM and we will be happy to receive you in our country. We have set plans, and I am sure we will summarize the implementation of these plans next year in Moldova.”

Foreign guests in Tbilisi were received by President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. After the formal part of the events, the guests and the hosts participated in Tbilisoba, the Georgian capital city day.

At first sight, everything is going well, but a thorough insight into GUAM reveals quite different picture of what is happening behind that perfect façade. What real successes have these countries made during those long 20 years? What is happening to their economies and democracy? Political instability, political crises ravaging and replacing one another during these years is what, in fact, has happened in these countries during this long period of time. Look at Moldova! The president and parliament oppose each other. The country’s future is endangered, since rather influential forces see the country only as part of united Romania.

Another GUAM country, Ukraine, is experiencing economic and political collapse. Its leaders that came to power through a coup d’etat and unleashed war in Donbass against whom they call their own people. Besides, Kiev fails to control the country’s territory that has turned into public thoroughfare for swindlers and thieves of all ranks. Suffice it to recall Saakashvili’s crossing Polish border into Ukraine despite personal ban by President Petro Poroshenko and respective agencies.

The situation in neighboring Azerbaijan may seem stable, if one turns a blind eye on some facts like patrimonial sultanate the country has turned into, kidnapping of undesirable oppositionists, journalists and bloggers in foreign countries (like it happened in Georgia with journalist Afghan Mukhtarli) and their extradition (recall Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin). As to resolutions of international human rights organizations that are simply terrified by what is taking place inside Azerbaijan, the country’s leadership can always blame “omnipresent and almighty Armenian lobby” for that.

Considering the trade and economic relations of GUAM countries, one can notice an obviously common feature – all these countries break their economic ties with Russia, first and foremost. Even potential economic losses do not hold them from that.

One may ask who and why created that artificial organization. GUAM Secretary General Altai Afendiyev answered this question at a press conference following the aforementioned meeting.

“…We actively cooperate with Japan, U.S., Visegrad and Baltic countries take a big interest in the organization. I think, we have a very extensive agenda that will give a new impetus to our cooperation,” Efendiyev said.

Apparently, quite warm a lot is due to gather around some common elements of political platform. Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Georgia Elizabeth Rood told journalists her country actively cooperates with GUAM and that cooperation will be further enhanced. As to the common element of political platform, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavel Klimkin addressed it in his speech: “We have faced a common challenge and that challenge is first of all to our sovereignty and territorial integrity. All this comes from one country – Russian Federation. Of course, we need to meet that challenge together. We must work on it and exert efforts.”

So, that’s what this is all about! Russia is the source of all problems and anti-Russian sentiment is that very common element of political platform of the GUAM ruling elites that were brought to power in Tbilisi, Kiev, Baku and Chisinau just for this purpose.

Judging from the last meeting and the Georgian minister’s statement that documentations are being prepared to create free trade area, one can suppose that those behind GUAM seek to provide their project with new powers and transform it into an anti-EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) project and an alternative to Eurasian integration. If they gain nothing from that undertaking, they will at least cause harm to Russia. Their major task is to deter Russia, no matter how it will affect their economies and democracy.

There are no coincidences in nature. It is quite symbolical that the name of the international organization reminds a small island in the Pacific. That island is not a resort, but a strategic military base enabling U.S. to control processes on a huge part of the world. Similar tasks were set to GUAM Organization. In this light, it would be good for GUAM countries to remember one simple truth: it is always bad to be a wax in somebody’s hands. Guam in the Pacific is already a target for North Korean missiles. Russia is not North Korea and provoking it is much more dangerous!

Irakli Chkheidze (Tbilisi) for EADaily

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