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Moldovan President conspicuous by absence at GUAM summit

The GUAM regional organzation - consisting of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova – held its annual summit in the Black Sea resort of Batumi on the first and second of July. For the second year in a row, Moldova's President Vladimir Voronin failed to attend the summit.

Voronin who sent instead the Moldovan minister for domestic affairs, gave no public reason for his absence. Last year, Voronin Voronin claimed that important meetings in Brussels prevented him from attending the GUAM summit in Baku.

Political analysts consider that Moscow has been pressing the Chisinau government to back away from GUAM which it regards as a pro-western regional organization.

The dominant theme of the Batumi summit was the problem of ensuring energy supplies independently of Russia. Participants discussed a project to build an oil pipeline from Odessa on the Black Sea to Plock in Poland. The summit also discussed transport, economic and security development, and humanitarian aid.