Basescu in Belgrade: No Way Romania Can Recognize Kosovo

World | November 1, 2011, Tuesday // 18:45|  views

Serbian President Boris Tadic (R) welcomes his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu (L) to Belgrade, Serbia, 01 November 2011. EPA/BGNES

Romania's President Traian Basescu has reiterated during a visit in Belgrade his country's position that it has no intention whatsoever to recognize the independence of Kosovo.

After meeting with his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadic on Tuesday, Basescu stressed that "at this point there is not a single condition under which Romania would recognize Kosovo", as cited by Serbian news portal B92.

„Romania supports reaching a solution through talks, which would stipulate that Serbs in Kosovo are protected and served by Serbian institutions," Basescu said.

Romania is one of the five EU member states together with Greece, Spain, Cyprus, and Slovakia, that has not recognize the Republic of Kosovo.

The former Serbian province broke away in February 2008. As of October 201, the Republic of Kosovo has received   87 diplomatic recognitions as an independent state. In addition to Serbia, major non-recognizers include China and Russia.

"Serbia is the key to peace in the Balkans. Ordinary Serbs as well as Serbian politicians need to know Serbia has Romania's unconditional support in its progress to the EU. We believe Serbia should become an EU member country and part of Euro-Atlantic integration as soon as possible," the Romanian President said after his meeting with Serbia's President Boris Tadi?.

"Our plea to Romania was to continue supporting Serbia in the European integration process as it has been doing to date. This includes December 9 when a vote will be held in Brussels to decide whether Serbia gets EU candidate status and when the outlook for opening accession talks will be discussed," said Tadi?.

"We hope we will get candidate status," said the Serbian president, adding Serbia has fulfilled all the conditions, which is confirmed by the extremely positive report it got from the European Commission.

After a meeting at the Palace of Serbia, Tadi? and Basescu told reporters their talk focused on economic cooperation and potential projects.

The two presidents discussed Serbia's possible involvement in the Pan-European Oil Pipeline (PEOP) project and the AGRI project for gas transport from the Caspian region to the European market, which already involves Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Hungary.

They also talked about electric energy transport, the construction of pumped-storage plant Derdap 3, cooperation of Pan-European Corridor 7 and the Danube Strategy.

A significant part of the conversation was dedicated to national minority rights, including the Vlachs in eastern Serbia, B92 points out.

"In our country there are people who identify as Vlach, there are citizens who identify as Romanian, and there are also those who say they are both Romanian and Vlach and believe the two are one and the same," Tadi? said.

He stressed Serbia respects the right of its citizens to declare their identity as they see it, in line with European standards and law.

"We understand our Romanian friends when they open this issue. Basescu does it in an open and fair manner," Tadi? added, stressing Serbia has the most flexible model of national minority rights protection in Europe and has gotten high marks from the European Commission in this area.

Basescu noted that official Bucharest is well aware of the fact one part of the Vlachs identify as Romanians, while another part do not accept this.

"We are not imposing an identity on anyone. It is clear that those who are of Romanian descent have the right to preserve their culture and language and this right should be respected," he stressed.

Romanian President Traian Basescu stated in Belgrade on Tuesday that there is no relation between the process of ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Serbia in the Romanian parliament, and the so-called issue of Vlachs.

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Tags: Serbia, Romania, Boris Tadic, Serbian President, Traian Basescu, Romanian President, kosovo, EU, Kosovo independence, Vlachs, Belgrade, Serbia EU accession


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