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Cablegate: Albanian Fm Reviews Bsec Priorities

VZCZCXRO3818
PP RUEHBW
DE RUEHIT #0241 1350823
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140823Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0860
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0155
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA PRIORITY 0080
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8143
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7668
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 0028
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0001
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU PRIORITY 0057
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 0017
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0390
RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0320
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0152
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY 0092
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000241

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECIN TU
SUBJECT: ALBANIAN FM REVIEWS BSEC PRIORITIES


1. Albania will serve as organization for Black Sea Economic
Cooperation (BSEC) Chairman in Office from May 1 - October
31. On May 12 at BSEC headquarters in Istanbul, Albanian
Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha addressed representatives of
the BSEC member states, observers and related bodies,
describing Albania's goals and objectives for the upcoming
six months. His presentation focused on three key elements:
increasing BSEC's profile on the international stage,
implementing on-going reforms, and furthering cooperation
with international organizations, particularly the EU and
UNDP.

2. Basha highlighted the 55 events scheduled to occur during
the Albanian presidency, expressing his determination to both
maintain on-going efforts as well as create new projects that
will bolster the visibility of the organization. Basha noted
his goal of increasing the flexibility of BSEC as well as
enhancing cooperation at the sectoral level. In addition to
reviewing a laundry list of issues on which the Albania
chairmanship will work, including transport, energy and
tourism, Basha noted that the Black Sea Ring Highway and the
Motorways of the Sea projects would be of special focus
during the Albanian chairmanship.

3. Regarding international organizations, Basha noted
Albania's goal of increasing and formalizing the interaction
between BSEC and the EU, including through a declaration of
relations between the two organizations, to facilitate
greater involvement by individual EU member states in BSEC.
Basha also briefly made reference to UNDP, encouraging
increased cooperation with that organization.

4. The only question following Basha's remarks came from the
Ukrainian Consul General, who asked whether to expect a
meeting of trade ministers focusing on issues including a
BSEC free-trade agreement, during the new chairmanship. BSEC
Secretary General Chrysanthopoulos noted that past
discussions of intra-BSEC trade facilitation measures had not
been successful, but that timing now appears to be more
favorable. Chrysanthopoulos indicated that ministerial
statements by member state trade ministers would add further
impetus to the discussion of trade arrangements.

5. Consulate General Istanbul will continue to attend BSEC
meetings held in Istanbul on subjects of interest to the USG.
A complete calendar of events and meetings for the May -
October period is posted on the web at
http://www.bsec-organization.org/meetings.asp x . In general
BSEC meetings unrelated to financial and personnel matters
are open to observers; however, meetings described as "ad
hoc" or "informal" normally include only member states.
During the Albanian presidency we intend to observe the May
19-21 meetings on combating crime, the September 17-19
meeting of senior officials, and the Sept/Oct meetings on
environmental protection. The Department and/or Embassy
Tirana may wish to consider sending a delegation to the
Meeting of the BSEC Ministers of Energy tentatively planned
for September/October in Tirana as well as the October 21-22
meeting of senior officials and the October 23 Council of
Foreign Ministers. Embassy Bucharest may wish to consider
sending an observer to the June 9-13
Regional Conference on Strengthening the Criminal Justice
Response to Trafficking in Persons in the Black Sea Region.
Embassy Athens may wish to consider participating in the
October 8-9 Black Sea Energy Conference.
WIENER

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