Romania Expects to Resolve Black Sea Dispute with Bulgaria 'Soon'

Diplomacy | April 6, 2012, Friday // 18:36|  views

Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu keeps bringing up a Black Sea zone dispute with Bulgaria. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Romania expects to reach an agreement with Bulgaria in their dispute over 17 square km of their economic zones in the Black Sea, Romanian Foreign Minister Crisian Diaconescu has announced.

Diaconescu declared Friday that the dispute between Bulgaria and Romania in the Black Sea that he himself brought up at the end of March will be resolved very fast, as cited by the Romanian news site Ziare.

The Romanian Foreign Minister, whose initial statement on the subject sounded harsher, is now quoted as saying that the issue is "not a matter of a dispute but of talks."

„Those who conducted these talks informed the public. Unfortunately, for reasons that I don't fully understand, these topics don't reach the public knowledge. Yes, it is a matter of talks with Bulgaria on delimitation. We need an agreement, and I think we will reach as soon as possible," he stated, adding that Romania has no similar disputes with its other neighbors.

When asked to comment on media reports that the territory in question contains deposits of energy resources, Diaconescu replied that the Romanian "Foreign Ministry conducts talks only in the field of international law", and cannot comment on economic topics.

According to diplomatic sources cited by the Mediafax agency and the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), the alleged disputed territory on the Black Sea border between Bulgaria and Romania is located on the route of the future South Stream gas pipeline.

Romania has already stated that the Black Sea dispute can be taken to an international arbitration court where it can be resolved based on the principle of equal distance. Bulgaria, however, wants to resolve the dispute by talks and insists on delimitation along a parallel.

Romania has already won a similar Black Sea delimitation dispute with Ukraine.

Ziare notes that Romania's government has recently made harsh foreign policy statements directed at Serbia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and asks whether it has adopted a more aggressive foreign policy.

According to Diaconescu, this about an "extremely active foreign policy that all countries demonstrate."

He also said the situation of Romanians living abroad is a public policy issue enjoying great support.

On the issue of the Romanians living in Serbia, and whether that could lead to a Romanian veto on Serbia's EU accession, Diaconescu said that Romania has always supported Serbia's EU integration.

When he first spoke out about the Black Sea delimitation dispute with Bulgaria, Diaconescu also mentioned what Romania believes to be a "Romanian minority" in Bulgaria. This claim was flatly rejected by the Bulgarian authorities pointing out to the census figures indicating that less 1 000 Romanians reside in Bulgaria.

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Tags: Romania, territorial claims, South stream, South Stream gas pipeline, South Stream gas pipeline project, border dispute, cristian diaconescu, Black Sea, exclusive economic zone, Romanian minority, Serbia, EU


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