Thursday, July 10, 2008

Romania Foreign Minister in Key Moldova Trip

09 July 2008 Bucharest _ Romania’s Foreign Minister has reaffirmed Bucharest’s backing for Moldova’s EU bid in a key trip amid rising tensions between the two neighbours.

'Romania is the only European Union neighbour of the Republic of Moldova and I repeat, we have all the determination to strongly back the Republic of Moldova's process of approaching EU with faster steps,' said Romania’s Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu.

His Moldovan counterpart Andrei Stratan said that Moldova wants to reach a higher level of proximity to the EU and thanked his Romanian counterpart for the support granted in this direction.

Comanescu underlined that Romania has the openness to offer its eastern neighbour expertise in accession, adding that he agreed with his counterpart on a new timetable of regular meetings between the experts from the relevant ministries.

The two officials also stressed the importance of further developing economic relations, with trade exceeding €635.4 million this year, as well as the role Moldova plays in the regional cooperation bodies.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 until it was annexed by the Soviet Union. Moldova became independent in 1991 and the two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background.

But relations between the two countries have sunk under Vladimir Voronin’s Presidency, with the Moldovan leader accusing Romania of trying to seize his country.

In 2007 Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country claiming Bucharest was trying to lure Moldovan citizens.

Moldova’s Premier Zinaida Greceanii hailed Comanescu's visit as a start in bilateral relations.

Comanescu's visit to Chisinau is the first high level visit by a Romanian official after Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu's trip in July 2007.

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