An anniversary Black Sea Economic Cooperation summit opens in Istanbul on June 25, 2002. Exactly ten years ago, leaders and prime ministers of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine met in Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, to sign an Istanbul Declaration on Black Sea Economic Cooperation, which outlined major priorities and mechanisms of this cooperation. The priorities as stipulated in the Declaration concerned contacts in the fields of trade and industry, transport, communications, science and technology, energy, production and processing of minerals, agriculture, tourism, and ecology.
In June of 1993, the parties set up a Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation -- an organization that is meant to help streamline economic cooperation between Black Sea states and strengthen political stability.
During a summit meeting in Moscow on October 25, 1996, it was decided to transform the BSEC into a regional economic organization. On June 5, 1998 in Yalta, the parties adopted a Statute of the BSEC, which stipulated that the summit of leaders and prime ministers is the higher body of the organization.
Today, the BSEC has about a dozen working groups, including groups on trade and industrial cooperation, banking and finance, statistics, transport, communications, energy, science and technology, ecology, agriculture, tourism, etc. All of these groups are busy developing and implementing concrete projects dealing with regional cooperation, such as creation of a transport ring around the Black Sea with links to trans-European mainlines and transport networks in Central Asia and in the Mideast.
At the upcoming anniversary forum, the parties will discuss regional cooperation in the fields of energy, transport, and communications, and approve a Declaration of the Istanbul BSEC Summit called "10 Years of Cooperation and Development: A Glance into the Future." The Russian delegation will be headed by Vice Premier Valentina Matviyenko.
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