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GUUAM SUMMITEERS VOTE WITH THEIR FEET EVEN BEFORE SUMMIT START

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CHISINAU, April 20 (RIA Novosti's Vladimir Novosadyuk) - The GUUAM, an international organization that brings together Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova, is to hold summitry, April 22. Prospective attendance is shrinking, meanwhile.

President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland will certainly not appear, even after his recent reassurances of coming as observer, reports the presidential press service of Moldova, host country.

Post-Soviet Baltic leaders also said they were eager to go to Chisinau. However, Lithuania's President Valdas Adamkus is the only of all three for today to have confirmed his participation.

President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan will certainly omit the event. No explanations at all have come from Tashkent.

As Yuri Laryushin, prominent Moldovan political expert, sees the matter, all those annoying developments could be shrugged off as mere technical misunderstandings, if not for the GUUAM's geopolitical goals, which the Ukrainian and Georgian presidents recently highlighted. Victor Yuschenko and Mikhail Saakashvili both regard the organization as playing first fiddle in regional stability, he pointed out in a Novosti interview.

"Don't forget that Ukraine is claiming alliance leadership, and wants to come as mediator in GUUAM countries' contacts with Europe," he added.

"The GUUAM may have the best of intentions-but don't forget that the Soviet Union's collapse entirely changed geopolitical arrangements in Europe and Asia alike. The myths of a world divided in Great Powers and countries in the background are tumbling down, and all contacts between whatever countries are mutually lucrative and indispensable to either side.

"That is why particular countries are harshly confronted whenever they aspire to leadership in particular regions.

"Poland is claiming political and economic leadership of Eastern Europe. But then, none of its countries are better developed than Hungary and Czechia. What are they to think of those claims? Then, Ukraine is out to lead the GUUAM. Its aspirations clash with counter-claims by oil-rich Azerbaijan, by Georgia, with vast support the USA is offering it, and by Uzbekistan, a strong country in post-Soviet Central Asia's heart. Don't forget how long it took to arrange the European Union, what with France rivaling Germany, and Germany contending the UK. Each of those countries was anxious to get to the top. That was why there were formidable problems while the EU was in the making as geopolitical complex."

Mr. Laryushin does not think the GUUAM will have ample chances to implement its ambitious plans if similar antagonisms come up.

The GUUAM promises to make a Black Sea-Caspian belt, tentatively to extend to the Baltic. But don't forget it will not survive unless it coordinates whatever it would be doing with the world's leading countries. "The 21st century imposes on us all its own dialectics, and they are to reckon with. Possibly, that is why the Polish and Uzbek presidents have chosen not to attend the summit," assumes the expert.

"There may be other reasons for their conspicuous absence. Thus, Uzbekistan is apprehensive of a revolution, on a par with recent ones in the post-Soviet area. Poland is loath to see Ukraine getting stronger, while the post-Soviet Baltics think they not Poland ought to dominate in Europe's east."

The answers to all those questions will come quite soon, the expert rounded off his interview.

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