Deputies from countries around the Black Sea last Thursday issued a statement, expressing their support for a proposal Romania put forward on building a Black Sea European zone, the Romanian Press Agency reported.

At a two-day conference held in Constanta, Romania, on regional cooperation in the Black Sea region, officials from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia, Greece, Turkey, Moldova and Romania signed an initiative to set up a body to promote regional economic cooperation.

Russian deputies expressed reservations on the proposal and did not sign the statement. A senior Russian foreign ministry official said that such an organisation seems to be a duplication of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation founded in 1992.

Romanian Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu said it was necessary to establish such a body because the economic cooperation in the region is fairly weak. General-Secretary of the Council of Europe Terry Davis shared the Romanian opinion, saying such an organisation would boost cooperation in the Black Sea region.

The news was monitored by The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service, Morgan Williams, Editor.