POLITICS

Baconschi: Iliescu ‘blamed’ me for the Pope’s visit to Romania

The Foreign Minister addresses in an interview to Evenimentul Zilei the late Pope’s visit and president Basescu’s re-election, as well as the achievements and targets of Romania’s foreign policy and ties with neighbours and strategic partners. Baconschi also responded to allegations concerning the Romanian ex-pats’ vote in the 2009 presidential election in Paris, where he acted as ambassador at the time. “Voter turnout in the second round amounted to approx. 3,700 voters in 14 hours. 3,500 people voted in May 2007 in the impeachment referendum, within a mere 12 hours, that is, a higher voting average than in 2009. In my opinion, the Social-Liberal Union has yet to come to terms with the result of the 2009 elections. It suffered a trauma and it is still seeking an explanation, albeit an irrational, mystical one,” the Foreign Minister argued, reiterating he sued the politician who had accused him of fraud at the time and voicing his hope the court ruling will vindicate him.

Baconschi also commented on the ending of his ambassador’s mandate half a year early: “I remained in office three years and a half. A mandate lasts four years in principle, but Ion Iliescu ‘blamed’ me for the Pope’s visit to Romania which had brought ‘some’ prestige to the Democratic Convention, rather than to Romania…”

As regards his ministerial agenda, Baconschi stated he had set out, as the head of diplomacy, to boost Romania’s footing as a regional player. “In Moldova’s case, we’ve switched from the position of a hated neighbour, from the expulsion of the Romanian ambassador in Chisinau, to a stage of considerably closer interaction (…) We’ve managed to get ties with Ukraine on a less thorny track after less publicized efforts. The FM Konstantin Grishcenko undertook an important visit to Romania, we are to sign a number of agreements to complete the bilateral legal frame, which is yet to be updated, and we have regular talks with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister,” the minister added. According to Baconschi, Romania is increasingly more active in the relation with Poland within the Eastern Partnership and with Austria within the Danube Strategy, while ties with Hungary and Bulgaria have never been better. Baconschi denied there was a tense relation between president Basescu and the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. “Heads of state cannot afford to quarrel, but a number of topics put a strain on the relation. However, things have reverted to normal (…) Now France and Germany are on our side in the matter of the Schengen accession and we are working together to win over the last intransigent party, the Dutch.”

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