AZERBAIJAN — BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION
The main goal of ОЧЕС, founded in 1992 by 11 countries (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Russia, Greece, Armenia and in 1999 with the addition of Serbia), is the development of mutual economic and political cooperation and maintenance of security in the region.
Observers in the organization are recognized as Austria, Belarus, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, USA, France, Tunisia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, as well as the European Commission, the Energy Charter Conference, the Black Sea Commission, the International Black Sea Club.
Azerbaijan is one of the founders of ОЧЕС since June 25, 1992. On the same day, the chapter of 11 states-founders of the organization signed the Declaration of the ОЧЕС. This document, sometimes referred to as the "Istanbul Declaration", establishes the principles, foundations, directions and initial mechanisms of Black Sea cooperation. The main purpose of Azerbaijan's participation in this organization is to prove and strengthen its special role in the Black Sea region, demonstrate its constructive attitude to the region, implement the policy of integration into European structures, strengthen the transport and transit potential of Azerbaijan, create a multilateral cooperation mechanism, protect strategic interests. In the Bucharest declaration adopted at the end of the summit, the need to accelerate economic cooperation between the countries of the region, cooperation in various spheres, implementation of special projects, and establishment of business ties is noted.
The constitution of the organization was signed on June 5, 1998 at the meeting of the heads of state and government in Yalta. By the decree of President Heydar Aliyev on December 1, 1998, the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic was approved. Azerbaijan chaired the BSEC at different times in accordance with the rules of the organization. During the presidency of Azerbaijan, cooperation development projects were implemented mainly in the spheres of transport, energy, communication and trade. Within the framework of BSEC, the Republic of Azerbaijan attaches importance to the development of cooperation based on mutual interests in a number of priority areas, including trade, customs, transport, energy, environment, information and communication, scientific research, technologies, etc. Such priority areas of organization as energy and transport are especially important for Azerbaijan. The Republic of Azerbaijan has established partnership relations in these areas both with BSEC member countries and with countries that are not members of this organization. Energy projects in which Azerbaijan is a major participant and which it fully supports (oil pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Novorossiysk and Baku-Supsa, gas pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and the active TANAP, TAP and the Southern Gas Corridor as a whole) and transport projects (Baku-Tbilisi-Kars) serve to further expand economic cooperation between the Caspian and Black Sea basins. The geographical and strategic position of Azerbaijan, the passage of a number of important transport corridors through this region have turned Azerbaijan into a reliable connecting bridge between Europe and Asia.
On June 26, 2012, a summit devoted to the 20th anniversary of ОЧЕС was held in Istanbul with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev.
During its existence, BSEC opened new opportunities for closer political and economic relations between member countries. The organization played an important role in the international economy, contributing to the expansion of economic ties in the region, including cooperation between member states, development of the private sector, trade, culture and tourism. All this became possible thanks to the efforts of the participating countries. Located in the center of Eurasia, this organization, which unites the Black Sea and neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan, plays an important role in the restoration of the historic Silk Road and transportation of energy resources.
Since the very beginning of its creation, the BSEC has served as a platform for regional and interregional economic cooperation for Azerbaijan. For Azerbaijan, which supports international cooperation based on mutual economic interests, BSEC can play a role in the economic development of the country and the strengthening of ties between the regions of the Black and Caspian seas.