Yalta, 8 June 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) group approved a charter that formally establishes the organization as a regional body. RFE/RL's correspondent in Yalta says nine presidents and two prime ministers of member countries signed the charter at a summit in the Crimean city on June 5. In a joint declaration, the leaders also said the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank should start operations soon. The bank, which is headquartered in the Greek city of Salonica, was formed in 1993 to promote regional trade and infrastructure development.
The statement says another goal of the BSEC is to gain official observer status at the United Nations. The BSEC includes Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Albanian, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Moldova.
The prime ministers of Russia and Greece attended the summit. All other BSEC member nations were represented by heads of state.