Pedro Mo Amaro, Ambassador of Uruguay to Bucharest
On August 25 Uruguay celebrates 185 years from the Declaration of its territory’s independence that took place in 1825 in a liberated area, after a group of Uruguayan revolutionaries (the famous Thirty-Three Heroes) crossed the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires and organized an insurrection that succeeded in gaining control over the countryside. But the war against the Emperor of Brazil lasted from 1825 to August 1828. In 1828 Lord John Ponsonby, envoy of the British Foreign Office, proposed making the Banda Oriental (original name of the country) an independent state. Britain was anxious to create a buffer state between Argentina and Brazil to ensure its trade interests in the region. With British mediation, our two neighbors signed the Treaty of Montevideo on August 25, 1828, whereby Argentina and Brazil renounced their claims to the territories that would become integral parts of the newly independent state. The first Constitution of the new country was approved officially on July 18, 1830; it established a representative unitary republic, the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, the word oriental (eastern) representing the legacy of the original designation of the territory as the Banda Oriental. During this year we also commemorate 130 years of the first official contacts with Romania recognizing the independence and sovereignty of this extraordinary country, back in 1880. From the political point of view and despite the distance, both countries share a common standing in defending the United Nations System, promoting human rights and security issues, participating in peace missions under UN and pursuing the disarming and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Both countries are active members of the Antarctic Treaty and the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change. Moreover, both countries have similarities in their geography, having mining resources and fertile lands appropriate for agriculture and cattle breeding; from the social point of view both count on skilled human resources. With the consolidation of democracy in Uruguay (1985) and in Romania some years afterwards (1990), bilateral relationship has been substantially strengthened. Significant opportunities were opened to explore for mutual political cooperation and business promotion. However, during the last decade the political and economic relationship between Uruguay and Romania has developed very slowly. In the year 2003 Uruguay had to close the Embassy in Bucharest and other ten Missions abroad, for economic reasons, after a serious and deep financial crisis. Likewise in the years before 2007, Romania put its biggest effort, ambition and determination to be admitted to the European Union and NATO. Furthermore, starting with 2008 Romania has been working hard for a closer collaboration with our region and country and, at the same time, Uruguay relaunched bilateral ties and reopened its Embassy in Bucharest in the same year. Both countries signed agreements regarding cooperation and investments covering a wide range of sectors from agriculture to industry, education and services. Regarding the possibilities of regional cooperation, a fruitful dialog has been developed among MERCOSUR – a common market between Argentine, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – and the EU. The aim is to further promote trade and investment between the two regions and strengthen the links among the Southern Cone of America and the European countries. Up to now, the bilateral trade of goods and services between Uruguay and Romania has been rather modest. Possibilities for further growth in investments and trade are high in fields such as energy, infrastructure, tourism, agriculture. Uruguay is very interested in the shipbuilding and railway industries, among other products. In the cultural field there are some projects to increase exchange of artists, musicians and cinematographic works, activities that help to develop a better knowledge of each others’ societies, idiosyncrasies, traditions, culture and achievements. Of greatest importance is the continuing cooperation between the public sector of both countries to encourage the increasing involvement of political, cultural, social and business sectors. Cooperation at multilateral, regional and bilateral levels offers plenty of opportunities to consolidate the present links and build up a stronger relationship for the future. I would like on this occasion to express my best wishes of happiness, peace and prosperity to the Romanian Government and People.