Exclusive interview of Trend with Romanian President Traian BГЈsescu
Question: How do you estimate the current level of bilateral relationship between Azerbaijan and Romania? Did you achieve any essential result during the meeting with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in Bucharest?
Answer: As Head of the Romanian state, I am satisfied with the very good level of the political relations, that was reconfirmed both by the last official visit to Romania of president Ilham Aliyev as well as on each and every meeting we had during the last year and a half. We come with a new proposal meant to confer dynamism and substance to the bilateral economic relations, building on the excellent basis offered by the political dimension. If we are going to make a profound study of the current and future status of the bilateral Romanian-Azeri relations, it would result that this sector of the economic relations needs to be consolidated. At the same time, I attach a particular importance to the quality of the interpersonal relations between our peoples, to the openness that exists on both sides regarding the consolidation of the relations between our citizens.
During our last bilateral meeting in June the 5th, due to the limited time, President Aliyev and I didnt have the possibility to go deeply into issues of mutual concern, we only have an overview of the bilateral relations; this detailed analysis will be made during the official visit that I will pay to Azerbaijan, at the beginning of October, this year.
We welcomed the beginning of the negotiations between the European Union and Azerbaijan concerning the Individual Action Plan, included in the European Neighborhood Policy and also Azerbaijans engagement in the Individual Action Plan with NATO. We reiterated our support for the efforts of the Baku authorities to conclude and to adopt these plans as soon as possible. We also manifested our availability to share the expertise that Romania gained in the period prior to the accession to the European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
We appreciated the economic relations have not reached the potential of the two states economies. We hope that the meeting, in Baku, of the second session of the Intergovernmental Commission for technical and scientifical cooperation, in June, has indicated the need for progress in this direction. The final result of all these endeavors will be counted and analyzed this fall, on the occasion of my official visit to Azerbaijan. Then, we will see which of these are feasible and deserve our sustained involvement.
Question: How do you estimate the totals of the summit Black Sea Forum for dialogue and partnership, held in Bucharest at the beginning of June?
Answer: The Black Sea region is the number one priority of Romanias regional policy. We consider that the region is an area with a significant potential, yet undiscovered and unexploited, whose security is directly linked to the security of the European and Euro-Atlantic space, especially regarding the soft security and energy risks.
We are convinced that, both for Romania and for Azerbaijan, the Black Sea represents an area of particular importance: a gateway towards the European and Euro-Atlantic space. This is the most direct link between Europe and Azerbaijan and therefore, we believe that it is in your countrys interest to contribute to the improvement of the existent instruments that connect the Black Sea region to Europe (these are often limited to bilateral and sectorial instruments).
We believe that for the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Black Sea forum for Dialogue and Partnership will be an useful instrument in order to deepen the cooperation at the regional level or to attract new partners both from the European and Euro-Atlantic area, as well as the private sector, into the region, so that the regions priorities and needs identified by the regions states should be reached and fulfilled.
Regarding the first summit of the Forum which took place in Bucharest, in June the 5th, we appreciated that it represented a first step in materializing our joint efforts to reunite the political will of the states on the need to sustain the initiatives coming from inside the region. The citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine are being creative and wish to do something from the region they live in. In order to meet their demands, we have to offer the support of the governmental sector. This is a process that we hope will shorten the path between initiatives and debates and their translation into practice.
Question: How do you estimate the activities of GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova)? Is Romania expected to enter this organization?
Answer: The interest Romania has regarding the evolutions in its East represents the natural attitude of a member state preoccupied to support the objective of the Euro-Atlantic community: to expand the area of stability, security and prosperity beyond the frontiers of EU and of NATO. Recently, I had the pleasure, through the voice of Romanias minister of foreign affairs, to greet the transformation of GUAM into an international organization the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development GUAM. We express our best wishes for the success of all the activities that will be carried out under this new framework.
I consider that ODDE-GUAM is a regional structure relevant for the critical need to fight the new risks to the European security. Also the importance of the cooperation between Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova is critical in fields such as the improvement of the security climate, the hydrocarbons transportation and transit towards the rest of Europe, having as main projects TRACECA and INOGATE.
I welcome the interest of the GUAM states concerning the frozen conflicts, true sources of instability for the region and sources of insecurity beyond their own frontiers. Decisive actions and common plans of cooperation are needed in order to fight these threats.
I dont think you have to consider the possibility of Romanias joining GUAM. This is an organization that fits a certain geographical profile which Romania doesnt belong to. Although, due to the fact that the GUAM region is adjacent to the geographical space that Romania belongs to, I can affirm that we are going to actively support deepened and efficient cooperation between the GUAM member states.
Question: What role could Azerbaijan plan in the provision of energy security of Europe, including Romania?
Answer: Europes energy security is an issue of particular importance in the context of increased demand for energy resources and Romania, as an country importing oil and natural gas is interested to identify new sources of import and alternative routes of transportation.
We are interested in identifying the ways in which the Nabucco project will be feasible. Azerbaijan can and should play an important role in this respect both as a country of safe transit as well as a provider for this pipeline.
Romania is interested in developing a closed cooperation with Azerbaijan in the energy field. We analyze the possibility to sign a bilateral agreement between the relevant ministries that will formalize prior identified projects of cooperation in the industrial and energy sector. I am sure that these projects will be put on the agenda before my official visit to Baku.
Question: Does Romania support territorial integrity of Azerbaijan? What are your visions about the ways and perspectives of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement?
Answer: Of course. As I always stated on every occasion, Romania supports the independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrality of Azerbaijan.
I consider that frozen conflicts in the Eastern neighbourhood are both a symptom and a test: a symptom of Eastern Europes troubled history and a test of NATO and the EUs ability to bring stability and security to the region.
If we looked at a map of unsettled conflicts, we would see that there is a constantly fuelled arch of instability in the Black Sea region, which generates more serious security problems, such as arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings, trans-border crime, the undermining of democratic institutions and widespread human rights violations. This unpleasant reality underscores the importance of multiple, co-ordinated action from the wider international community to settle frozen conflicts.
There is no unique, universal solution to frozen conflicts. The conflicts in Transdnister, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh or South Ossetia are different, so the solutions, too, should be different. Regardless of whether we are acting through the EU or NATO or other possible formats, our actions need to be adapted to each and every situation, starting from the cause of the conflict, the political, social, economic specificity and a clear understanding of the position of all the players involved
We consider that 2006 has to be put into value as a unique window of opportunity in the process of Nagorno-Karabakh settlement and, in this respect, I welcome the positive results of the meeting that took place in Bucharest.
I am honored that the two presidents have decided to meet in Bucharest, in the framework offered by the Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership, whose main purpose is to promote a culture of dialogue and cooperation within this region.
I consider that the Minsk process needs an input both from the international organizations as well as the regional actors. Romania wishes to bring its contribution to provide the right climate for the continuation of negotiations between the two countries situated in its neighborhood. The meeting that took place in Bucharest itself sustains the rationale for which Romania considered that the process of the Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership is needed.
Romania is not a directly involved partner, but as an OSCE member state follows closely the evolutions linked to the Prague process, from the perspective of its expanded regional interests. The conflict has multiple facets and the solution will have the same characteristics. We are ready that, together with the international organizations expertise, to share, at our turn, from the experience gained in the field of ensuring national minorities rights, when the time comes.
Romania is the advocate of a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by fully taking into account the diplomatic instruments available. We express our hope that the Bucharest meeting will be the beginning of a new encouraging framework for discussions that will mark real progress and even an agreement upon precise steps meant to accelerate the negotiations. Your success will represent the success of the whole Black Sea region, the success of each country belonging to this region.
I can assure you that you benefit from Romanias support especially because, as I stated before, we understand very well the issues you are facing. The Romanians are in a similar situation, generated by unfortunate solutions from the Soviet era the frozen conflict of Transdnister.
The solution we identified is to sustain, in each instances we have at our disposal, the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Republic of Moldova. Within the EU, the frontiers, irrespective of their nature, disappear. We encourage you to keep going on this path. The first steps have already been taken, through the opening of the negotiations regarding the Individual Action Plans with your countries.