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|For the purpose of enhancing peace and stability in the Black Sea area, by increasing regional co-operation, and improving good relationship, the idea of establishing a multinational naval on-call peace task force “The Black Sea Naval Co-Operation Task Group-BLACKSEAFOR” has been initiated by Turkey at the second Chiefs of the Black Sea Navies (CBSN) meeting which was held in Varna/Bulgaria in 1998.|
BLACKSEAFOR establishment agreement was signed by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine on 2 April 2001 in İstanbul. BLACKSEAFOR was first activated in Gölcük/Turkey between 27 September-16 October 2001 under the Turkish command. The second activation was held in August 2002 at Sevastopol under the Ukrainian command and the third activation took place on 3-31 August 2003 under the command of Bulgaria. The first phase of the fourth activation was held on 5-27 August 2004 under the Georgian command. The second and last phase of the fourth activation is expected to be held on 4-27 April 2005.
Upon the invitation of Turkey, the “First Political Consultations” meeting of the BLACKSEAFOR took place at the level of representatives of Foreign Ministers in Ankara on 19 January 2004 with the participation of all Black Sea littoral countries. At that meeting, the representatives of the littoral countries underlined the strategically important location of the Black Sea. The representatives also reaffirmed their common understanding that security in the Black Sea constitutes primordial importance for the littoral states and that, therefore, they should take primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and stability in the area through the engagement of their common assets and capabilities. They further underlined the fact that BLACKSEAFOR is an already available instrument, which can be used for the achievement of this objective through various means compatible with the overall aims of the BLACKSEAFOR Agreement. Within this context, the representatives shared the assessment that the Black Sea area should be protected against threats and challenges such as terrorism, organized crime, illegal trafficking and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This meeting emphasized the importance and necessity of further regional cooperation among the littorals for the creation of peace, security and stability in the Black Sea.
On 7 July 2004, the Special Representatives of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the level of Deputy Ministers or their equivalents of the participating States to the BLACKSEAFOR Agreement met in Moscow for political consultations. On this occasion, the Special Representatives affirmed their conviction that co-operative action in the Black Sea aimed at preventing and eliminating the threat of terrorism, including illicit trafficking in weapons of mass destruction should be undertaken with urgency. With this understanding, Special Representatives decided to establish an Ad-Hoc Senior Level Experts Group to elaborate the principles and modalities of the employment of the BLACKSEAFOR for the purposes of preventing the threat of terrorism, including illicit trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials (see Moscow Communiqué). In accordance with this task, the Ad-Hoc High Level Experts Group held its first meeting in Ankara on 29-30 November 2004. Its second meeting was convened in Istanbul, between 2-4 February 2005. The documents revised by Ad-Hoc High Level Experts Group at Istanbul were presented to the Special Representatives, who met in Kyiv on 31 March 2005. At Kyiv meeting, the Representatives re-affirmed their conviction that the littoral States should uphold their responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the Black Sea by utilizing efficiently the already available instruments of regional cooperation, namely BLACKSEAFOR and the Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures in the Naval Field in the Black Sea. The Representatives also welcomed the invitation extended by Turkey to the littoral States to join the operation “Black Sea Harmony”. At the Kyiv meeting, BLACKSEAFOR Special Representatives approved the Report on “Principles and Modalities of the Employment of the BLACKSEAFOR for the Purposes of Preventing the Threat of Terrorism and Illicit Trafficking in Weapons of Mass Destruction, their Means of Delivery and Related Materials” and Annex-A “Maritime Risk Assessment in the Black Sea”. The Special Representatives invited the Ad-Hoc High Level Experts Group to finalize its work on remaining Annexes.