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I. Meeting in Minsk
On December 20, 2001 a regular meeting of the Consultative Council of the Eastern European Social Democrative Forum was held in Minsk. 10
representative delegations from 8 countries of the CIS and Baltia took part in its work:
1) from Azerbaijan - Deputy Chairman of the Social Democratic Party Seiran Mirzoev;
2) Belarus was represented by 2 delegations: delegation of the Belarussian Social Democratic Party "Narodna Hromada" (Popular Community) consisting of the Party Chairman Mykalai Statkevich, his Deputies Volodimir Nistiuk and Nina Stuzhins"ka, members of the Party Central Apparatus and delegation of the Belarussian Labour Party headed by its Chairman Oleksandr Bukhvostov;
3) from Armenia - member of the International Secretariat of Armenian Socialist Party "Dashnaktsutiun" Yuriy Navoian;
4) from Georgia - Deputy Chairman of the Socialist Party Yuriy Chikhradze (the party is chaired by deputy speaker of the Georgian parliament from opposition Vakhtanh Rcheushvili);
5) from Latvia - delegation of the Social Democratic "Labklajibas Partija" (Party of Welfare) consisting of its Honorary Chairman Academician Viktor Kalberzs and the Chairman Yuriy Zhuravliov, an influential Latvian businessman;
6) from Moldova - Deputy Chairman of the Social Democratic Party Ion Birsan;
7) Russia was represented by 2 delegations: delegation of the SDPR (Chairman - Mikhail Gorbachov) including Secretary of the SDPR Political Council Boris Guseletov and Pavel Kudiukin and delegation of the Pan-Russian Political Public Movement "New leftists" in the person of Oleksandr Abramovich, Head of its Governing Board;
8) Ukraine was represented by delegation of the Social Democratic Party (United) that included the SDPU(U) Chairman and National Deputy Viktor Medvedchuk, Head of the Party Executive Commiitee Mykola Shevchenko, First Deputy Head of the Executive Commiitee Yuriy Zahorodniy, member of the International Commission Iryna Protsenko and the SDPU(U) consultant on International Issues Sviatoslav Sheremet-Sheremetiev.
Some of these parties, namely the Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, Armenian Socialist Party and Social Democratic Party of Moldova took part in the meeting as observers, and the SDPU(U) together with the Latvian Social Democratic "Labklajibas Partija" obtained full membership in the Forum in accordance with the decision of the Consultative Council and previously handed applications.
The Socialist Party of Ukraine, chaired by National Deputy, Oleksandr Moroz also handed in an application to enter the Forum. Although the Socialist Party had not delegated its representative to the meeting in Minsk, the Consultative Council of the Forum decided on admitting the SPU to the organization.
So, today the Forum has 10 full members from 6 countries: the Belarussian Social Democratic Party "Narodna Hromada" and Belarussian Labour Party from Belarus; Socialist and Social Democratic parties from Georgia; Social Democratic Party from Kazakhstan; Social Democratic "Labklajibas Partija" from Latvia; the SDPR and the movement "New Leftist", from Russia; the SDPU(U) and the SPU, from Ukraine.
It should be mentioned that among 13 full members and observers of the Forum 4 parties are members of the Social International, namely the Belarussian Social Democratic Party "Narodna Hromada", Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, Armenian Socialist Party and Social Democratic Party of Moldova.
At the meeting of the Consultative Council in Minsk the delegates made amendments to the Forum Regulations, reelected the governing bodies: the SDPU(U) leader Viktor Medvedchuk was elected the EUSDF President, Mykalai Statkevich (Belarussian Social Democratic Party), Secretary General of the Forum and Boris Guseletov (SDPR) and Yuriy Chihkradze (Socialist Party of Georgia), Vice Presidents of the EUSDF.
Participants of the meeting approved the Programme Statement, in which they expressed their determination to further consolidate interparty relations; continue their common efforts to deepen economic and political cooperation between their peoples and states; defend the interests of working people; fight with determination for human rights and contribute to the development of democratic processes in their countries. They also expressed categorical protest against persecution for political activity, testified their readiness to actively work within the Socialist International and supported the SDPU(U) initiative to hold in 2002 the international conference of Social Democrats in Yalta under the aegis of the Forum.
After the plenary work participants of the meeting visited the House-Museum of the 1st Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Worker"s Party that had taken place in Minsk in 1898. After familiarizing with the exposition and talking to the staff of the museum the newly elected leader of the Forum, the SDPU(U) Chairman V. Medvedchuk addressed his colleagues with a proposition to take this important institution under the patronage of the EESDF and allocate financial resources to put the House-Museum to rights. The leader"s initiative was unanimously supported by the delegates. It seems that the memorable photo of participants of the Minsk Forum taken on the porch will soon enrich the museum collection.
Following the decision of the Consultative Council its next meeting will take place at the beginning of March of 2002 in Kyiv.
II. History of Creation of the Eastern European Social Democratic Forum
The Eastern European Social Democratic Forum (EUSDF) was established in Moscow in February of 1999 by representatives of 7 social democratic and socialist parties and movements of the countries - members of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). At the Constituent meeting the delegates approved Declaration on the Creation of the Forum, its Principles and Regulations.
Parties and organizations - founders of the Forum:
1) Social Democratic Party of Russia;
2) Pan-Russian Political Public Movement "New leftists";
3) Belarussian Social Democratic Party "Narodna Hromada" (Popular Community);
4) Belarussian Labour Party;
5) Social Democratic Party of Georgia;
6) Socialist Party of Georgia;
7) Social Democratic Party of Kazakhstan.
At the Meeting in Moscow the leader of Belarussian Social Democratic Party "Narodna Hromada" Mykalai Statkevich was elected President of the Forum and Pavel Kudiukin (the Social Democratic Party of Russia), Secretary General.
III. Statute Fundamentals
The main objective of the Forum is "to coordinate the efforts of social democratic and socialist parties aimed at formation of equal in rights and good-neighbour relations between peoples and states of Eastern European region, consolidation of democracy and publicity, speeding-up economic and cultural progress in the countries members of the Forum".
Main tasks of the EUSDF:
- to discuss interstate relations, elucidate positions of each social democratic and socialistic party and popularize them in the countries members of the Forum and other countries, approve common documents on international and intrastate relations (if the parties delegated to represent certain country at the Forum raise this issue);
- to develop theoretical fundamentals of social democracy in Eastern European region;
- to exchange experience in the sphere of state building, implementation of economic reforms, social and political activity;
- to organize solidarity actions to protect human rights;
- to coordinate the actions of social democrats and socialists in interstate institutions.
Participation of political parties and public movements in the work of the Forum is determined by the following principles:
- equality of all parties members of the Forum during discussion of problems and decision-making;
- no-interference into the activity of any party, respect for the decisions of its governing bodies and its position on any issue;
- conformity of all documents and political actions of the Forum to the principles of democratic socialism;
- cooperation with the Socialist International and its structures, namely, with the Central European Committee of the Social International.
The Forum"s governing body is the Consultative Council in which each of the parties and organizations has one vote. Documents approved by the Consultative Council can be declarative or recommendatory. The EUSDF working languages are Russian and English.