Basescu: If arrangements are made for Ukraine’s Russian minority, similar rights are needed for Romanians
President Traian Basescu on Tuesday said that, in Romania’s opinion the Russian Federation’s objective is to federalize Ukraine and hamper the presidential elections in this country.
‘The Russian Federation’s objective, in Romania’s opinion, has two priorities. The first is represented by the federalization of the Ukraine, a process that has already started through the recognition by Minister Lavrov of the referendums in Luhansk and Donetsk. This is what the Russian Federation has in mind to achieve, in serious breach of the Ukrainian Constitution,’ Traian Basescu stated at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, after consultations with Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday.
According to the Romanian head of state, the second objective of the Russian Federation is to hamper the organisation of presidential elections in Ukraine, scheduled as they are for May 25.
‘It is quite clear that the Russian Federation wants to destabilize Ukraine and gain control over it, be it the entire country or some of the regions,’ the head of state said. Romania believes, according to President Traian Basescu, that essential for the government in Kiev right now is to take all the necessary measure and make all the necessary efforts, if possible, to avoid the bloodshed, so that the May 25 elections to be carried out safely and correctly in the entire country, including in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Basescu also remarked that, unless elections are held in all regions, the effect will be that ‘the elected President won’t be considered legitimate in the eyes all the Ukrainian citizens, while the enthronement of a President as the result of such elections in which two regions of the country were left aside, has almost the same significance with losing, territorially speaking, the two regions.’
Traian Basescu warned that the destabilisation of the Odessa region would be the worst-case scenario as far as R. of Moldova is concerned, adding that one of the Russian Federation’s objectives is to remake the former borders of the late USSR. In his view, giving this context, Moldova is subject to serious security threats but it should ignore any kind of provocations.
‘Romania’s opinion is that the signing of the association agreement and the free trade agreement with the EU should be sped up, if technically possible on May 27, if not at the European summit this June. Moldova should also think over the value of the neutrality article in its Constitution, as long as its neutrality is not observed because of the occupation troops deployed on its soil,’ Basescu asked.
All of the same, Basescu reiterated that Romania does not recognize the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, nor the ‘self-rule’ referendums held in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, because they run counter to the Constitution of Ukraine. He also stressed that a clear offer must be made to Ukraine by the signing, as soon as possible, of the Association Agreement, and of the Free Trade Agreement, respectively, most probably after the presidential election to be held there on May 25.
On the other hand, the head of state said that if the central government of Ukraine decides, in consultations with the Russian minority, on a line for the preservation of the language, customs and traditions of the minority, Romania will categorically demand that the Romanian minority of Ukraine enjoy the same rights as well.
Regarding Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin’s interdiction, President Basescu pointed out that Romania will act in full accordance with EU over flight rules. ‘I will try to slightly open the issue of the flight, without meaning any conflict. As a participant in the last European Council meeting, I can tell you that the issue of the flight was not discussed and Romania will act in full accordance with the rules to be set at the EU level in this respect’, Basescu said at the presidential Cotroceni Palace.
PM Ponta: Romanian officials have coordinated positions on Ukraine
Prime Minister Victor Ponta declared on Tuesday, after consultations called by President Traian Basescu at the Cotroceni Palace, that Romanian officials have coordinated positions on the situation in Ukraine and in the Republic of Moldova and on the strategic partnership with the United States. He mentioned that the consultations also included talks on the way of applying the sanctions decided by the European Union and the United States to individuals labelled as undesirable.‘(…) I have renewed our call to discuss the sanctions level, their implementation and the responsibilities of each institution in a session of the CSAT (Supreme Council for National Defence). The President answered that he will inform us when he convenes the CSAT,’ Ponta added.
Butcher: Romanians should be preoccupied, not worried by the situation of Ukraine
The vice-president of USA, Joe Biden comes to Bucharest in order to appreciate the partnership with Romania and express the solidarity of the USA following the instability created by the situation of Ukraine, the charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Bucharest, Duane Butcher said yesterday for Mediafax, adding that Romanians should be preoccupied, not “necessarily” worried by this crisis.
Butcher added that the visit of the US vice-president also comes to encourage Romania continue the efforts aimed at fighting corruption, arguing that progress should not be wasted. Regarding the interdiction of Rogozin’s flight, the American charge d’affaires said that it is encouraging for the USA, which imposed sanctions to Russia, to see that these sanctions have effect.
In a different move, Tuesday evening, present in Bucharest for a reception offered by Lockheed Martin, in presence of PM Victor Ponta, Duane Butcher said that by implementing a new weapons system like the F-16, Romania displays a firm commitment to defence, leadership in regional stability and a significant contribution to NATO’s collective defence. “The F-16 will provide a robust and effective response to regional aggression which is badly needed on the leading edge of NATO”, Butcher also pointed out. U.S. Chargé d’Affaires praised as well ‘the consistent commitment by the Romanian government to increasing the defence budget to the NATO standard of 2 percent of GDP – this is an imperative, and necessary in order for the military to effectively plan for mid-term and long term capabilities.’
In his turn, PM Victor Ponta said that being a member of the “F16 family” was a long-lasting project and a dream for the Romanian armed forces, adding that the Romanian armed forces deserve the best military technology.