On the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Lodz, Poland, on Thursday, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu met his counterparts from Norway, Azerbaijan , Armenia and Serbia.
At a bilateral meeting with his counterpart from Norway, Anniken Huitfeldt, he highlighted the excellent level of bilateral relations, with Huitfeldt particularly appreciating the organisation and outcome of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting that Aurescu hosted in Bucharest on November 29 and 30.
According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) Aurescu voiced appreciation for bilateral co-operation at all levels, including defence and security, for example the purchase of F16 aircraft from Norway. Aurescu invited Norway to participate in the NATO structures in Romania. The two ministers agreed to intensify security co-operation at the level of the two foreign ministries.
Aurescu welcomed the Norwegian contribution to the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism since 2007, as Romania has received approximately 1 billion euros worth of these funds.
At a meeting with his counterpart from Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, discussions focused on the developments in and prospects for bilateral relations, with emphasis on the dynamics of political dialogue and sectoral co-operation.
Aurescu welcomed the excellent relations between Romania and Azerbaijan, mentioning that Romania was the first EU member state to conclude a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan in 2009.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy highlighted the importance of fully using the potential of existing bilateral co-operation, emphasising the priority interest in the implementation of projects in the areas of energy, connectivity and transport.
Aurescu mentioned the imminent signing on December 17 in Bucharest of a memorandum of understanding for the creation of an undersea cable for the transport of green electricity among Romania, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Hungary. He also welcomed the start of negotiations, on November 8, between Romania, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkmenistan, for the conclusion of an agreement on the creation and operation of a Black Sea – Caspian Sea international freight transport corridor, a project proposed and promoted by Romania.
Aurescu mentioned the fact that Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of the EU because of its contribution to ensuring European energy security and showed that the country plays an essential role in the stability, security and prosperity of the South Caucasus region.
According to MAE, Bayramov voiced satisfaction with the excellent bilateral ties between his country and Romania, underlining the fundamental role of the bilateral strategic partnership in terms of political dialogue and sectoral co-operation, as well as within multilateral organisations, and highlighted the opportunities for expanding and strengthening Romanian-Azerbaijani co-operation in various areas, especially business, transport and energy, while capitalising on the existing openness of both sides.
Aurescu’s meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Ararat Mirzoyan, focused on the current state and prospects for bilateral relations, with both ministers highlighting a shared interest in boosting political dialogue and economic co-operation, co-operation within international organisations, Armenia’s relations with the EU, the regional state of play.
Aurescu emphasised the tradition of co-operation and good understanding between the Romanian and Armenian peoples, as witnessed by numerous achievements in terms of culture, historiography and spirituality, as well as the presence of an important Armenian community in Romania, a real bridge between the two countries.
The Romanian minister reiterated support for the resolution of all pending issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan through dialogue, stressing the importance of respecting the principles of international law, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the parties.
He voiced Romania’s support for the European Union Monitoring Capacity to Armenia (EUMCAP), which includes four Romanian monitors, as the mission is the outcome of a proposal made Aurescu after a tour in June 2021 of the South Caucasus together with his Lithuanian and Austrian counterparts in co-ordination with the EU High Representative Josep Borrell.
Mirzoyan emphasised in his turn the interest in intensifying the political dialogue and practical co-operation between Romania and Armenia, including by increasing connectivity between the two countries, and mentioned the importance attached by Armenia to the development of relations with the EU, with the full exploration of the opportunities created in the process of implementing of the consolidated and comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement between Armenia and the EU.
ForMin Aurescu, Serbia’s Dacic discuss energy, transport interconnection projects
At a bilateral meeting with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic (photo), on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Lodz, Poland, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu discussed energy and transport interconnection projects between the two countries.
“This first contact of the heads of the two diplomacies takes place after the inauguration of the new government of the Republic of Serbia, on October 26, 2022, as well as after the meeting of the prime ministers of Romania and Serbia on November 28, 2022 in Bucharest, on the sidelines of a round table conference on the Western Balkans within the Munich Security Conference Leaders’ Meeting, an event that preceded a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, November 29-30, 2022.”
In their conversation, the two ministers also addressed continuing the talks started on a visit to Romania on June 27 of then Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic.
“The two dignitaries reconfirmed their interest in boosting bilateral sectoral collaboration, with emphasis on promoting interconnection projects in the fields of energy, especially the Arad-Mokrin gas interconnector and the Resita-Pancevo high-voltage line, as well as transport, and the developments in the implementation of the Timisoara-Moravita-Vatin-Belgrade motorway. Both sides welcomed the very good level of bilateral co-operation in home affairs.”
Aurescu also welcomed an increase in bilateral trade by 37% in the first three quarters of 2022, to nearly 2 billion euros, despite a difficult global economic context, and encouraged the intensification of mutual investment.
In order to further boost commercial exchanges, he proposed the organisation of a bilateral business forum.
Aurescu and his Serbian counterpart mentioned the progress made recently with the completion of the effective handover of the Luceafarul facility in Vrsec, Serbia, whose ownership right was won by Romania following the signing by Aurescu and his then Serbian counterpart in June of an intergovernmental agreement on this topic, a relevant diplomatic success of MAE.The head of the Romanian diplomacy voiced hope that the new Serbian government will nominate, in the shortest possible time, a new co-president of the Romania-Serbia Intergovernmental Joint Commission on National Minorities, which will allow the resumption of its activity by organising a new working session.
The two dignitaries agreed stay in touch for the advancement of the bilateral agenda and projects of shared interest, including by organising official visits to Bucharest or Belgrade.