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Russia: Black Sea Group Calls For Regional Stability

Moscow, 25 October 1996 (RFE/RL) - Leaders in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Conference in Moscow today issued a declaration calling for increased regional stability through cooperation.

The declaration calls for the group to become a full-fledged regional economic organization. It also supports the development of a regional fiber-optic telecommunication system, and emphasizes the need to unify energy systems.

Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the group already has become an important forum for balancing regional interests and realizing joint projects.

Chernomyrdin opened the conference earlier today by reading a message from Russian President Boris Yeltsin. In his message, Yeltsin said the group had become a dynamic force for the formation of what he called "a new European architecture."

The group brings together ministers from 11 countries with strategic and economic interests in the Black Sea region. Those include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. Seven other countries participated as observers.

The delegates today agreed on the need to work together against organized crime, terrorism and the trafficking of drugs, weapons and radioactive materials.