GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
• GUAM consultative forum
|10 October 1997|
• Uzbekistan membership, GUUAM established
• Charter signed
• Uzbekistan withdrew, GUAM reestablished
|810,506 km2 (312,938 sq mi)|
• 2020 estimate
|71.5/km2 (185.2/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2020 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
• Per capita
The GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development is a regional organization of four post-Soviet states: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova.
Conceived in 1997 to harmonize and integrate commercial, diplomatic and democratic relations among its member states, the GUAM treaty charter was signed in 2001 and today covers a population of over 57 million people. Uzbekistan was also a member of GUAM in the 1999–2005 period. In 2003, GUUAM became an observer in the UN General Assembly. In 2007, GUAM also established a military peacekeeping force and organized joint military exercises. Such increasingly deepened integration and relationships led to GUAM playing an important role in the region's diplomatic and commercial affairs.
The official negotiating language of GUAM was Russian, but it was scrapped in favor of English in 2014. In 2017, agreements on a free-trade area were established for the first time.
Cooperation between Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova started with the "GUAM consultative forum", established on 10 October 1997, in Strasbourg and named after the initial letters of each of those countries. In 1999, the organisation adopted the name GUUAM due to the membership of Uzbekistan. A summit in Yalta on 6 and 7 June 2001 was accompanied by the signing of GUUAM's charter, which formalized the organization. According to the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, the charter set objectives for cooperation, such as promoting democratic values, ensuring stable development, enhancing international and regional security, and stepping up European integration.
In 2002, Uzbekistan announced that it planned to withdraw from the organization and following this announcement started to ignore GUUAM summits and meetings. In May 2005, shortly after the Andijan massacre, Uzbekistan finally gave official notice of withdrawal from the organization to the Moldovan presidency, thus changing the group's name back to GUAM.
A summit of GUUAM took place in Chișinău, Moldova, on 22 April 2005. The US Department of State special representative for Eurasian conflicts, Steven Mann, and the OSCE Secretary General, Ján Kubiš, participated in the summit. The Russian ambassador in Chișinău criticized the fact that Russia was not invited to attend. Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, said after the summit: "Our organization is emerging as a powerful force, participating in resolving problems in the Caspian—Black Sea region" while the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, said that a new page had been written in the history of the organization.
Given the growth of its influence in the region, and the existence of the Russian—led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), GUAM was seen in Russia as a way of countering the Russian influence in the area and as part of a strategy backed by the United States. However, GUAM leaders repeatedly and officially dismiss such claims and declare their strong willingness to develop close friendly relations with Russia. Moreover, Azerbaijan, the group's main energy power, has managed to avoid any conflicts with Russia in recent years.
In April 2006, three GUAM nations supported Ukraine's proposal to condemn the Holodomor, the 1930s famine in Ukraine which killed millions of people, as a genocide.
In May 2006, Ukraine and Azerbaijan announced plans to further increase the GUAM member relations by renaming the organization GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development and establishing its headquarters in the Ukrainian capital. The other members said this was a remarkable step and development. The summit participants were also expected to adopt GUAM by—laws, a declaration and a communique. Also in May 2006 the Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced plans to establish GUAM peacekeeping forces. The following year, GUAM nations agreed to form a 500-personnel joint peacekeeping force to battle separatism.
In June 2007, presidents of Lithuania, Poland and Romania joined the leaders of GUAM member states at the GUAM summit in Baku, Azerbaijan. Also participating at the summit were the Vice-President of Bulgaria, the Vice-Speaker of the Estonian parliament, the Minister of Economy of Latvia, and the high—level representatives of the United States, Japan, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), UNESCO, and heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Azerbaijan.
In December 2014, then-Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin proposed GUAM to speak English during meetings, instead of Russian, which was also the main language used in official gatherings in the Soviet Union. GUAM representatives agreed.
In March 2017, GUAM officially established agreements on a free-trade area and harmonization of customs procedures within its member states.[needs update]
In May 2021, three of the four members, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, joined the Association Trio in order to jointly facilitate further European integration.