President of Romania Visits Armenia Meets with Kocharian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–President of Romania Emil Constantinescu arrived in Armenia last week on an official visit to the Transcaucasus. At Zvartnots airport Constantinescu was greeted by Armenian President Robert Kocharian–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–Yerevan’s Mayor Suren Abrahamian–President of the National Academy of Sciences Fadey Sargssian and other senior officials.

The Romanian official said he wants to create impetus for the development of Romanian-Armenian diplomatic–economic–scientific–and cultural relations during his visit. Constantinescu also spoke about the aspiration of his country to promote the implementation of the Great Silk Road Program–which he described as the largest project of the third millennium. Regarding the OSCE Lisbon Summit principles about the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict–Constantinescu said that Romania supports peaceful resolution of all conflicts. "We have to try to do our best not only through Lisbon or OSCE–but also under the umbrella of regional structures."

Kocharian was satisfied with the relevant legislation for the development of Armenian-Romanian relations. He voiced hope that during the visit concrete agreemen’s will be reached–particularly one concerning the opening of a Romanian embassy in Armenia.

In the afternoon–Constantinescu met with Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia Khosrov Harutiunian. The Romanian president noted that his visit to Armenia will be a good basis for further Armenian-Romanian cooperation. He stressed the importance of cultural cooperation–in which–he said–the Armenian community of Romania plays an important role. Harutiunian pointed out the fact that both countries have a similar challenge to develop a market economy. The speaker also noted the important role the Armenian community played in the history of Romania–adding that "we speak different languages–but are of the same blood."

Later in the day–President Kocharian held a confidential meeting with his Romanian counterpart. The two countries’ presidents reported that during their one-on-one meeting they discussed Armenian-Romanian relations–regional problems as well as issues of regional cooperation. Kocharian presented the political and economic situation in Armenia and reported on the steps the Armenian government is taking in reforming the economy.

They stressed that the two countries already signed more than ten agreemen’s regarding different spheres of cooperation which create legislation for further expansion and strengthening of relations–the presidential press service reported. The presidents also agreed to specify real possibilities of cooperation and display more pragmatic approaches in building these relations.

The Romanian president also underlined the need for a pragmatic approach to future bilateral relations. He pointed out that there is necessary legislation for good cooperation–pointing out that besides the major agreement–four Armenian-Romanian agreemen’s were ratified and another five are to be ratified. Constantinescu also reported that the two sides are planning to set up a representative committee which would try to find all possible ways of cooperation and all points of contact between the two countries. The sides also decided to create a mechanism of direct consultations on European–regional and international issues.

Regarding the Karabakh settlement–the Romanian president pointed out that the solution to the problem can be found only through peaceful means. "I am sure that a mechanism of peaceful settlement of the conflict will be found to meet the interests–hopes and aspirations of all the parties to the conflict," he said.

Concerning the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Romania–Constantinescu said–"Historic cases are ratified by history and–certainly–we also must acknowledge their existence. Unfortunately–tragic events took place in Romania too–but we must be ready to look into the future."


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