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September 27, 2020

ForMin Melescanu on Skripal case: I expect Romanian diplomat to be expelled from Russia, based on reciprocity principle

Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu stated on Wednesday that Romania, as part of the European Union, showed a sign of solidarity with the UK and expelled a Russian diplomat in the context of the scandal related to the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and doesn’t exclude the possibility that, in reply, the Russian Federation apply the same measure based on “the reciprocity principle.”

“This incident which occurred in the UK is a first. It’s for the first time when chemical weapons are used on the soil of a European Union state (…). I want to be very clear: toxic neuro-paralyzing gases (…) can’t be purchased from drug stores, there are only a few states which have such reserves (…). There are elements indicating that most probably the possible source is the Russian Federation,” Melescanu stated in an interview to Adevarul Live.

He brought to mind that, on a European level, a recommendation has been adopted in respect to repercussion measures over this action and Romania also agreed to express its solidarity with the UK through the decision to expel a Russian diplomat in Bucharest.

“It’s a rather mild measure, if you will, when we put it in balance with the Americans’ decision to expel 60 diplomats or even with the Republic of Moldova’s, that expelled three Russian diplomats from Chisinau. (…) The gesture has its symbolism and I made it with the belief that there is a need to give a very clear signal, that such thing [using chemical weapons] is not to be done either in time of peace, or in time of war,” the head of the Romanian diplomacy added.

He also said that in the diplomatic practice any expel automatically leads to the enforcement of “the reciprocity principle” and, this is why, it’s expected for the Russian Federation to expel a Romanian diplomat in Moscow.

Melescanu wanted to underscore that Romania wants to have “pragmatic” relations with the Russian Federation, that should be to the benefit of both parties, based on observing norms and principles of the international law.


“A meeting of the Historical Committee on the Romania’s treasure in Moscow is in the making”


Romania’s Foreign Minister also said that the national treasure of Romania sent to Moscow for safekeeping during WWI will be the topic of a meeting of Romanian and Russian historians that is being in the making.

“This year, we are preparing to see if a meeting of the historians’ committee discussing the issue of Romania’s treasure will finalise. (…) We have prepared, and we hope it will take place; we will see about it under the current circumstances. (…) There is dialogue, which is very important, because until recently, there used to be no dialogue, just rejection (…) of any idea to discuss the treasure. It is a positive thing that a dialogue has started. What we try to do at the level of the committees of historians is to look into common documents for proof, for evidence and the magnitude of this Romanian treasure in Moscow are,” Melescanu told an Adevarul Live webcast on Tuesday.

He added that besides the gold of the National Bank, for which there are clear documents, there are other valuables moved to Moscow.

“So besides this treasure, we still have a lot of valuables, the jewels of important people of the Romanian Government who were evicted from Iasi, boyar families. First of all, we have information that Queen Marie’s jewels were also sent. We have many other families complaining that they sent very important assets to Moscow on the train that left Iasi. And finally, there are church assets as well and especially historical works. We are talking about very rare books that were also set aside for safekeeping given that WWI was raging on. (…) So the talks between historians are meant to clarify these aspects, to see to what extent there are documents and, on the basis of these documents, to be able to start up a dialogue on the restitution of the treasury,” said Melescanu.

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