GUAM -- a group of four former Soviet republics -- contributes to the peaceful settlement of conflicts in the territory of its member states through a consolidated platform, GUAM Secretary General Valery Chechelashvili told media on Monday.
"Unfortunately, three of the four GUAM member states suffer from territorial conflicts," he saidon the sidelines of an international conference, 'Strengthening cooperation in preventing terrorism'. "The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of those frozen territorial disputes."
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Chechelashvili said that each of these conflicts has its own format. The process of their settlement is being carried out, despite GUAM has no direct participation in them.
"However we have a well-formed and consolidated position of the member states as reflected in the presidents' joint statement of GUAM," he said. "It is based on generally accepted international principles."
He stressed that GUAM continues working with the international community in the UN to attract more major partners and familiarise them with their position.
"We have good prospects in this regard," Chechelashvili said.
GUAM, which comprises Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova,. was established in 1997 during the EU presidential summit at Strasbourg. In 1999, Uzbekistan joined the organisation and left four years later.
A decision was made to rename GUAM as an international organisation called 'Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development - GUAM', at the body's first summit in Kiev in 2006.