GUAM: THE GEORGIAN PERSPECTIVE

Thea KENTCHADZE


Thea Kentchadze, Research Fellow at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Tbilisi, Georgia)


Introduction

The pursuit of effective mechanisms for developing regional cooperation has become one of the major dimensions of Georgian foreign policy. A fundamental attribute of such mechanisms should be a responsiveness to the interests of the parties involved and the ability to contribute to the promotion of stability and development in the respective region. In an effort to boost its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, Georgia is more actively looking into the opportunities that emerge from forging viable partnerships with like-minded countries. First of all, this refers to those sharing a common history with Georgia and facing many similar challenges characteristic to the process of post-Soviet transformation. Georgia is gradually distancing itself from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which has long discredited itself as a worthy international organization. At the same time, strengthening ties with those CIS members that declare adherence to the same democratic values and have a common understanding of the existing geopolitical environment and the role they have to play in it is an important element in Georgias foreign relations. In many respects, by building strong alliances amongst its regional partners, Georgia will maximize its chances for securing successful integration into the larger European and Euro-Atlantic family.

This paper looks at the opportunities that rise for Georgia from its membership in the Organization for Democracy and Economic DevelopmentGUAM (hereinafter GUAM). Established on 23 May, 2006 as a regional organization, GUAM signified a joint effort on the part of the original group of four―Georgia, Ukraine Azerbaijan, Moldova―to breathe life into a decade-long, but futile, cooperative framework that originally united these countries around the common interest of fostering security and political and economic cooperation. This article seeks to assess the opportunities that revitalized GUAM provides its members, particularly Georgia. In addition, it will attempt to analyze the possibility of GUAM escaping the danger of being merely a talk shop and the chances for its development into a valuable forum for building common approaches toward the most crucial issues facing its member countries.

Positioning Georgia in Regional Frameworks of Cooperation

Before addressing the issue of Georgias membership in GUAM, let us consider the effects of Georgias participation in a regional cooperative framework in general. What benefits might this bring to a country meant to play a focal role in political, security, economic interactions from the Black to the Caspian seas?

In recent years we have witnessed a growing interest in..


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