BSEC Members Sign Aid Energy Agreemen’s

SOCHI–Russian Black Sea (Itar-Tass/Noyan Tapan)–An agreement between the governmen’s of member countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation on cooperation in rendering emergency aid and overcoming natural and industrial disasters was signed on Wednesday at the Radisson-Lazurnaya Hotel in Sochi.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from eight out of eleven BSEC countries–including heads of departmen’s and divisions on civil defense and emergencies from Armenia–Bulgaria–Georgia–Greece–Moldavia–Romania–Ukraine and Russia.

Russian Acting Minister of Emergencies Sergei Shoigu who chaired the ceremony–said that the signed agreement is merely a framework–however it is enough to urge neighboring countries to help each other in emergencies. The agreement spares humanitarian and rescue teams customs infringemen’s–and makes provisions for a future working group to implement the standards of the agreement .

Relations between BSEC countries were also positively affected by the current integration in the sphere of energy. Armenian Prime Minister Armen Darbinian said at a Wednesday conference with BSEC Energy Ministers that progress made in this sphere will be followed by positive changes in the relationship between members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

The ministers met to discuss and adopt resolutions on the BSEC Union Regional Energy System–and actually signed a package of documen’s establishing the BSEC URES.

Darbinian said that the government of Armenia views the Energy System as highly significant. According to him–the memorandum will become a cornerstone in BSEC cooperation.

The main feature of this memorandum–according to Darbinian–is that it provides for both expanded bilateral and multilateral ties–allowing for commitmen’s assumed by each participating country regarding other intersystem communications.

Darbinian pointed out that BSEC energy departmen’s would have to launch several concrete measures to elaborate and coordinate the basic principles of electricity trade and tariff formation on mutually advantageous terms–to work out standards and requiremen’s regarding energy systems reliability–to develop measures aimed at enhancing the production–transmission and consumption of energy.

Darbinian also mentioned that Armenia is very much involved in the establishment of a single energy space within the CIS and the BSEC. According to the prime minister–the state of the energy complex–a key factor in expanding the country’s economy–is of crucial importance for proceeding with economic reforms.

Darbinian stressed that Armenia has one of the most liberal economic legislations among CIS countries. The introduction of an accounting system in the energy sector and the launch of a large-scale privatization of energy enterprises are expected this year.

"We attach great importance to the Memorandum of Cooperation in the Energy Sector as it gave the start to the active work on establishment of the BSEC United Regional Energy System," Armenia’s Energy Minister Gagik Martirossian said.

Participants of the conference highlighted the importance of seeking funds to implement the project. Romania’s representative said that the funds might come from the European Union and other international organizations. The Greek representative said that national funds will also be allocated for the implementation of this long-term project.

That same day–a final session–in Armenia–of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council was held at the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia. The session was attended by representatives of Turkey–Romania–Ukraine–Greece and Armenia.

BSEC Secretary General Mustafa Aksin noted that BSEC-member countries face numerous problems. He thought that the development of economic cooperation should lead to the resolution of political problems as well.

Armenia which has been presiding over the BSEC for six months is to pass chairmanship to Azerbaijan in May following the meeting of BSEC Foreign Ministers.

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