Black Sea States, Neighbors Plan To Boost Cooperation

The countries sharing the shores of the Black Sea and a few neighboring states announced plans Thursday to bolster economic and other cooperation in their region, including a construction of a “ring road” around the sea. 

The foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine convened in Belgrade along with counterparts from Greece, Albania and the host country – all members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, or BSECO. 

The participants signed a “memorandum on mutual understanding” to launch projects for the more than 2,000 kilometer-long highway whose cost is yet to be determined, possibly at BSECO summit scheduled for June 25 in Istanbul, Turkey. 

The “ring road” is expected to become a major transport corridor, along with a planned improvement of links between Black Sea ports. 

“We are making history today,” proclaimed BSECO Secretary General Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, after the 3-hour ministerial meeting. 

Founded in 1992, BSECO states have combined population of about 400 million, vast natural resources and developing ties with the European Union. Three BSECO countries, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, are also E.U. members. 

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the “huge potential” of the Black Sea states and pledged to “develop new, practical areas of cooperation.”
Source: AP

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