Black Sea Economic Cooperation meeting ends in Azeri capital

ANS TV, Baku
30 Apr 04

[Presenter] The meeting of the foreign ministers of the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation Organization has ended in Baku. The
organization's secretary-general demanded that Armenia explain its
failure to join the meeting.

[Correspondent over video of the meeting] The tenth sitting of the
foreign ministers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization
was interesting for a number of reasons. The Armenian delegation did
not attend the session as was the case with the sitting the
organization held in Baku six months ago.

[Uncaptioned official, speaking to microphone in Russian, with Azeri
voice-over] The organization's secretariat sent invitations to all its
member countries. The Armenian Foreign Ministry must perhaps explain
why their delegation did not attend the sitting.

[Correspondent] The second interesting point was the fight for the
post of deputy secretary-general of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
Organization, which has been disputed for a year. According to
unofficial reports, Russia wanted to appoint its representative to
that post. However, as a result of voting, Altay Afandiyev, head of
the economic cooperation and development department of the Azerbaijani
Foreign Ministry, was elected deputy secretary-general.
Unfortunately, Mr Afandiyev's first contact with the media was
unsuccessful. He acted as a real official.

[Video shows Afandiyev avoiding an interview with journalists]

[Correspondent] As far as the sitting itself is concerned, the Baku
sitting summed up Azerbaijan's yearly chairmanship in the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation Organization. The sitting positively assessed
official Baku's chairmanship during the year. But it also noted the
importance of institutional reforms inside the organization.

Representatives of influential international financial organizations
promised to help the Black Sea countries with the issues in
question. But they failed to clarify the form of assistance. The
organizers of the sitting did not give the media any additional
information, claiming that the second part of the discussions was
partly confidential as they took place behind closed doors. But we did
not see any closed doors. [Video shows the half open doors of the
meeting room and some people leaving the room]

[Passage omitted: The Baku sitting decided to admit Serbia and
Montenegro to the organization, other reported details]

Zaur Hasanov, Ruslan Mammadov and Ramil Qulammirzayev, ANS.