Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Titus Corlatean told on Tuesday that his meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow marked an opening of the political dialogue, that should also back ‘a solid economic part, to both sides’ interest’.
He stressed it is the first bilateral meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers after the one in February 2009 and he underscored ‘the political-diplomatic agenda has been much poorer’ over this time.
‘It is a moment when we try to create an opening of the political dialogue, it is an anniversary time – ten years since the signing of the Bilateral Political Treaty and 135 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. It was a meeting that had pursued and confirmed a constructive, pragmatic, positive agenda and, at the same time, the wish confirmed by both sides to also back a solid economic part, to both sides’ interest, of course, by means of the political-diplomatic dialogue’, the minister said.
Corlatean underscored Romania is interested in balancing the bilateral trade balance, given that Romanian-Russian trade last year totalled 4.4 billion dollars, with Romania exporting only 1.3 billion dollars worth of goods.
‘We are interested in a more substantial presence of the Romanian companies in the Russian market, we have interests in the energy sector included, for example by direct talks and negotiations with the Russian Federation partners, without intermediaries, who inevitably affect the price of the gas exported by Russia to Romania’, he pointed out.
The foreign minister announced that he and his Russian counterpart had agreed to organise annual meetings of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Technical-Scientific Cooperation. He explained that the last meeting of the Commission had taken place in Bucharest in this April, after a longer break.
‘We equally agreed that this political dialogue allows us to also openly tackle the topics and files on which we have close, maybe even similar stands, and I would only cite some of the aspects of the NATO-Russia cooperation on combating international terrorism, the drugs trafficking, aspects relating the cooperation on Afghanistan’, he added.
The Romanian top diplomat stressed the Romanian and Russian sides can also openly approach those files on which they hold different or even differing positions.
‘We also agreed to openly tackle those topics having a special symbolical value for our two nations, and in the case of Romania it is important to – and I made such a proposal – set a clear date and a well-defined agenda of the meeting of the Romanian-Russian joint commission for the history of the bilateral relations, the issue of the (Romanian) treasure included’, he said.
The minister added he and Lavrov had signed two intergovernmental agreements – one on the setting up of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Moscow and of the Russian Cultural Centre in Bucharest and an accord on the bilateral cooperation on culture, education, news media, youth, sport and tourism.
The two sides also agreed the programme for the consultations to be held by the Romanian and Russian foreign ministries in the next two years.
‘There also are other bilateral accords undergoing negotiation and we agreed to step up the negotiation for the future signing: I’ll give but one example – the agreement on the bilateral cooperation on combating organised crime’, Corlatean announced.
He voiced hope that ‘once there is an understanding regarding the mutual respect for the specific positions of each separate state’, the two sides would be able to tackle all the items on the bilateral and international agenda.
‘I would say it was a constructive, open, friendly dialogue based on a pragmatic agenda and I think that once there is an understanding regarding the mutual respect for the specific positions of each separate state – the very clear European and Euro-Atlantic commitment, in Romania’s case – we can, in a constructive open spirit, approach all these items on the bilateral agenda and also items on the regional and international agenda and the developments in the Middle East, the Arab states, which we discussed in detail today’, Corlatean concluded.
Foreign Affairs Minister Titus Corlatean began an official visit to Moscow on Monday. He is also scheduled to meet with the chairmen of the Foreign Affairs Committees in the Russian Federal Assembly’s two chambers – the State Duma and the Federation Council respectively -, as well as have talks with the Russian co-chairman of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on economic and technical-scientific cooperation; the Romanian minister will also deliver a lecture to the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian foreign ministry.