President Iohannis communicated on Thursday that he has called off the visit he was supposed to pay in October to Ukraine, on account of the education law being passed, considering that this piece of legislation goes against the mutual good intentions and drastically limits the access of minorities to education in their native language.
“Consequently, upon finding out about this law, I have cancelled my visit to Ukraine and I have also called off the reception of Parliament’s Chairman, who had taken an appointment with me for late September, thus conveying extremely powerful diplomatic signals. Calling off a presidential visit is a very strong signal,” Iohannis said.
He highlighted that the education law adopted in Ukraine goes against mutual good intentions.
“Indeed an unpleasant topic this evolution in Ukraine with the education law. I had a visit scheduled for October this year to Ukraine, a visit that I have prepared in several stages with President Poroshenko. The last round of talks was at the NATO meeting in Brussels. I was very very unpleasantly surprised at the turn of events in Ukraine’s Parliament, that, without communicating to its partners, and we are Ukraine’s partners, has passed a law that in our opinion, runs counter to our mutual good intentions. As a matter of fact, this law, if passed, will drastically limit the access of minorities to education in their native language. We are deeply hurt by this. We have many Romanians in Ukraine,” the head of state affirmed.
Iohannis specified that he and the President of Ukraine were due to visit the Bucovina area, where many Ukrainian Romanians live.
“This law comes at the wrong time and the entire approach, as far as I am concerned, needs to be questioned,” the head of state added.
He mentioned that he has run across President Poroshenko in the NATO hallways and told him what he thinks of the visit cancellation.
“We obviously greeted each other and I briefed him on these issues. I told him point blank that I would not pay this visit until progress regarding this education law is made and that I am disagreeably surprised at this evolution, given that he had a very open approach, at least towards me, on the issue of Romanians in Ukraine. I have also communicated my approach through the diplomatic channels and here, directly to President Poroshenko. He walked away rather preoccupied and I hope we manage to have an approach that allows Romanians in Ukraine, in the long run, to carry on their education in the Romanian language,” Iohannis concluded.
“We vie with Estonia in race for UN Security Council non-permanent place”
President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday that he agreed with his Estonian counterpart, Kersti Kaljulaid that between Romania and her country be “a fair competition” in the race for a non-permanent member mandate in the United Nations Security Council in 2020 – 2021.
“We vie with Estonia and this should make us more ambitious. Perhaps the level of ambition would have been lesser, if we competed alone for a spot. This way, we have to strive. There is no guarantee that we shall win the race, as it is no guarantee either for the Estonians to win. I met with the President of Estonia and we agreed to have a clean, elegant competition, and each of us try to draw as many votes as possible,” the Romanian President said in New York.
“Former SRI colonel Dragomir’s disclosures do not harm institution’s credibility”
Iohannis also said on Thursday in New York that the so-called disclosures of former Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI)’s colonel Daniel Dragomir do not harm the credibility of any institution, because in his case, the credibility level is very low, the colonel having left the SRI due to certain criminal issues.
“I find it a weird campaign. I didn’t follow it in detail because I never follow such tittle-tattle things, but I don’t believe it harms the credibility of any institution, in fact when I asked someone to get informed upon who this former SRI employee is, I was told that the man left the SRI because of some criminal issues, criminal files and so on. From where I stand, his credibility level is very low,” Iohannis said.
“I was very displeased with relevant entity having failed to warn population”
The President said that there is a very serious malfunction in the Romanian alert system, stating that he did not accuse the Government of anything, because it could do nothing in the context of the storms occurred late last week, being a “fresh” Government.
“I have asked the Government to start working on a population alert system. I have checked and asked my colleagues to check how people were warned of this dangerous storm that caused havoc and how the authorities responded. I was very unpleasantly surprised – not to say I was really outraged – to find out that the first meteorological warning was given a few minutes before we had the first death in Banat due to the storm.
It is a very serious dysfunction in the warning system. On the other hand, we need a population alert system. Not everyone watches TV all day to see what the National Meteorological Agency says, and this is a system that does not work in the short term,” said Iohannis.
He announced that he had a communication with the authorities immediately after the first storms.
“I did not accuse the Government of anything (…) but I was very displeased that an entity that was supposed to prevent, warn the population did not do it. Fortunately, there have been very successful interventions by firefighters, for example, and they have done a great job, as they usually do and thus I can praise the firefighters. The ISU intervened everywhere and saved what could have been saved,” the head of state said.
The President also spoke about the warning system in the US, adding that he wishes such a system to be implemented in Romania.
He pointed out that warning messages should be sent more often.