Trend`s exclusive interview with Romania`s President Traian BГЈsescu on the threshold of his official visit to Azerbaijan to be held on October 11-12
Question: What major questions do you plan to discuss during your visit to Azerbaijan? What tasks do you consider to be a priority?
Answer: During my meeting with President Aliyev, I intent to analyze the current status of our bilateral relations and to discuss upon the opportunities arising from the future EU membership of Romania for deepening this cooperation. The economic sector, the re-equilibration of the commercial balance between our counties is, from this point of view, what can be considered to be my priority. I believe that we should not resume ourselves with sporadic commercial exchanges, consisting mainly of Romanian furniture and Azeri oil, but develop strong co-operation relations in different fields of mutual interest. We consider that the future of the Romanian-Azeri economic relations should be based on strong ties in various fields, including the energy sector, industry, agriculture, constructions and transportation.
The second meeting of the Joint Economic Commission is scheduled to take place in Baku just before my official visit in Azerbaijan. I consider that its meeting will be a good opportunity to adopt a proper Action Plan meant to further boost the bilateral cooperation in the business field and I impatiently expect the results.
Question: What documents are being prepared for signature between Azerbaijan and Romania?
Answer: First and foremost, together with President Aliyev I will sign a Political Declaration in which we reaffirm our will to further enhance our bilateral cooperation. Other bilateral documents ready to be signed during my official visit refer to various fields such as: cultural cooperation, economic cooperation, mutual promotion and protection of investments or in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Question: What role does Romania offer Azerbaijan in the modern European policy and energy security of the continent? Could Romania compile a proposal on a fair resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and preservation of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan?
Answer: Romania has a functional market economy, with a well-developed private sector, and has the potential to collaborate with Azerbaijan both in the sphere of submarine and terrestrial oil fields' exploitation and processing, and in the fields of mechanical engineering, textiles and food industries, agriculture, constructions and transportation.
Romania, as a gas and oil importer, as well as a country which promotes energetic security in the region and in Europe, is interested in identifying new import sources and alternative transport routes for hydrocarbons, in the context of increasing demand for energy and the limited and not regenerative character of hydrocarbons resources. From the point of view of Romania, Nabucco gas pipeline and PEOP oil pipeline (Constanta-Trieste) represent efficient alternative solutions with reasonable costs, which could contribute to increasing energetic security in Europe. Also, Romania pays a special attention to Nabucco gas pipeline project, which will contribute to the diversification of European gas import sources on long term, providing a fourth source, besides the existing ones from the Russian Federation, North Sea and North Africa. As for PEOP project, not only it provides a direct route for oil export from the Caspian region towards Western Europe, but it will also provide important supplies to great oil consumers and producers.
Regarding Nagorno-Karabakh, 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.
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 insuring national minorities rights, when the time will come.
Question: You stated Romania's readiness for rendering assistance to Azerbaijan in the integration to the European and Euro-Atlantic bodies. What tangible assistance could Romania provide in this direction?
Answer: We encourage the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Azerbaijan, stressing that its place is in the Euro-Atlantic community of values. Our assistance to Azerbaijan can consist in supporting the Azeri authorities in the implementation through sharing the EU's and NATO's preaccession lessons learned. The concrete content of this assistance should be asked for by the Azeri authorities. It is up to them to let us know in what fields we can be of any assistance.
Question: What are your further plans on the development of co-operation amongst the Black Sea basin countries? What concrete steps do you plan to take in this direction to implement the political declaration issued by the participants of the Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership held in Bucharest in June 2006 at your initiative?
Answer: As a future EU member, Romania intends to continue stimulating, from inside, EU's interest in the Black Sea region. As I stated before, the major objective of Romania's strategy in the Black Sea region is its connection to the European and Euro-Atlantic space and boosting efficient cooperation of all the riparian states in this new logic. Romania intends to promote the so-called pontic dimension of EU that will find its inspiration, for example, in the Barcelona Process or the northern dimension of EU.
The projects that will be developed, under the auspices of the Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership, on the short term are: an inter-institutional and subregional project for crises management, a project concerning the dialogue between cultures and civilizations, that, later, can be connected to the similar projects of EU and the United Nations or a project concerning the competitiveness of the region at the European and global scale, also involving the OECD. These are only several initiatives of the Romanian side, but other countries of the regions are invited to join in.