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Statement by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Signing of Agreement on the Establishment of the Blackseafor Task Force

573-02-04-2001

On April 2, an Agreement on the Establishment of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Force (Blackseafor), worked out in the course of two-year talks of the six states bordering the Black Sea - Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine - was signed in Istanbul.

On behalf of the Russian Federation and on the instruction of Igor Ivanov, the agreement was signed by Russian First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Avdeyev.

For the first time in world practice, there is to be created a regional multinational formation on the basis of navies with flexible functions, intended for use in emergency situations in the Black Sea exclusively for peaceful purposes. Among its principal tasks are search-and-rescue and humanitarian operations, marine demining, environmental monitoring, joint training exercises, etc. Blackseafor may be enlisted for those tasks also as part of peacemaking operations conducted under a mandate of the UN Security Council or OSCE if these organizations so request the participating states.

The Russian side as an active participant in the drafting of the agreement signed in Istanbul intends to participate in full-fledged activities of the task force on a regular basis. The recent tragic events on the seas, which, unfortunately, do occur now and then in navigation, have convincingly proved the far-sightedness of the initiative of the Black Sea states, which decided to create an entirely new model of regional multilateral cooperation of their navies. Now it is important to make energetic efforts to make the Blackseafor Agreement work. The new task force, we are convinced, will be not only an effective instrument for quick reaction to emergencies in the waters of the Black Sea, but also a good school of naval skill.

The Russian Federation intends to begin, as soon as possible, to prepare for ratification procedures on the Blackseafor Agreement.

April 2, 2001