Four Ex-Soviet States Mull New Regional Force In GUAM Union

FOUR EX-SOVIET STATES MULL NEW REGIONAL FORCE IN GUAM UNION

RIA Novosti
17 08 2006

17/08/2006 13:26 TBILISI, August 17 (RIA Novosti) – Senior officials
from four ex-Soviet republics will discuss the formation of a joint
military force at closed-doors meeting Thursday in Georgia’s capital, a
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan,
and Moldova are members of GUAM, an organization originally designed
as a political, economic, and strategic alliance to "strengthen the
independence of these former Soviet republics" and widely seen as a
counterbalance to Russian influence on former allies.

"The meeting of representatives of the GUAM countries is devoted to
the further development of military cooperation," Viktor Matko said.

"The creation of a joint military force, which will comprise a
contingent from each member-state, is being discussed."

The organization was known as GUUAM until Uzbekistan withdrew in
May 2005.

On Thursday, the Central Asian state was admitted to another
regional group, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which
also comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia
and Tajikistan.

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