Romania’s Foreign Ministry (MAE) on Friday said the Russian Foreign Ministry did not adequately inform about the bilateral obligations arising from common history, voicing regret for that.
The MAE clarifications came after Russia on Thursday deemed ‘a fact distortion ‘ Romania’s announcement that the Romanian-Russian joint committee resumed talks about Romania’s treasury that was taken to Russia for safekeeping in WWI within as a result of Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu’s visit to Moscow late this February.
In a press release issued on Friday, MAE points out that Diaconescu asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to send a political signal for a new meeting of the committee that manages several bilateral issues, including the treasury issue, and Lavrov asked that he will contact the co¬chairman of the commission to meet Romania’s request for a news session of the commission.
MAE says there are two distinct commissions with separate statutes dealing with issues of the bilateral relationship.
There is a joint commission, of public interest, endowed with authority, made up of specialists from various fields studying issues arising from the history of the bilateral relationship between Romania and Russia, including the issue of the Romanian treasury.
According to the agreements of the two parties, the commission is currently looking into the issue of the Romanian treasury, and that is a matter of importance to the members of this commission, according to MAE.
On the other hand, MAE explains, there is another Romanian-Russian academic commission of historians, chaired by officials of the national academies of the two countries, that represents a forum for dialogue over the history of the Romanian-Russian relationship overall, says MAE.
‘In fact, the returning of cultural assets is an international obligation incumbent on the Russian Federation that is also considered by the Council of Europe.
Thus, Opinion 193/1996 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, drawn up upon Russia becoming a CoE member, mentions the need for negotiations over the requests for the returning of cultural property with European states, on ad-hoc bases, in accordance with the kinds of property involved – archives, works of art, buildings – and ownership, whether public, private or institutional,’ reads the MAE release.
Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Andrey Nesterenko argues the Russian- Romanian joint commission has to examine the entire set of bilateral issues of the first half of the 20th century, but is does not have to deal with separate aspects.
Following Minister Diaconescu’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov late this February in Moscow, MAE said in a press release that the issue of Romania’s treasury moved to Russia during WWI for safekeeping, is the topic of the discussions of the Romanian-Russian joint commission studying issues arising from the history of the Romanian-Russian relationship, including the Romanian treasury issue.