Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine are the twelve BSEC member states. Thirteen other countries including Belarus, Germany, the United States and France benefit from observer status. Turkey is holding the presidency of the BSEC from May to October 2007.
The BSEC agenda focused on regional integration and promoting multilateral economic development. The Istanbul summit meeting celebrates the Organisation’s 15th anniversary.
The results of BSEC activities in recent years and improving practical cooperation in multiple sectors were discussed at the summit. Summit participants exchanged opinions on possible ways to increase the efficiency of BSEC activities.
The President of Russia spoke at the summit meeting’s plenary session.
Vladimir Putin noted that the Organisation’s impressive potential has yet to be fulfilled and spoke in favour of launching large-scale economic projects in the Black Sea region and expanding cooperation in the energy sector.
Russia considers building a highway around the Black Sea to be a promising BSEC project. The Russian BSEC presidency between May and October 2006 helped promote this issue. Russia is also in favour of a Black Sea electricity chain forming a ring around the region and establishing passenger ferry connections in the Black Sea.
The Russian proposals are contained in the declaration that was adopted at the summit meeting between BSEC heads of state and government.
BSEC member countries confirmed their desire to expand cooperation in the energy sector while taking into account the interests of producer, consumer and transit countries. The declaration states BSEC members’ willingness to cooperate with the European Union and other international partners to ensure that all interested countries benefit from equitable access to energy resources and markets, to enhance global energy security, efficiency, competitiveness and environmental sustainability.
The declaration also notes that BSEC members consider that the accession of BSEC member countries to the World Trade Organisation will act as a positive contribution to developing economic cooperation and eliminating trade barriers.
The declaration emphasises that BSEC members are required to take all necessary measures to protect the environment for present and future generations. In connection with this, BSEC members consider it necessary to increase cooperation between all international organisations concerned with the protection and restoration of the Black Sea’s biodiversity, including reducing and preventing pollution from entering the rivers that flow into the Black Sea. .
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accompanied the President of Russia to Istanbul.
Following the summit meeting Vladimir Putin answered journalists’ questions.