Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 108

Meeting yesterday on Romania’s Black Sea coast, Presidents Leonid Kuchma and Emil Constantinescu signed a long-delayed treaty on good-neighborly relations and cooperation, effectively laying to rest Romanian territorial claims on Ukraine. (See Monitor, June 2, for details on the territorial issues) The treaty confirms the existing borders and rules out any territorial claims now or in the future. It also provides for observance of the rights of national minorities in accordance with international norms, including Recommendation 1201 of the Council of Europe, which refers to the possibility of administrative-territorial autonomy for national minorities under certain conditions.

Ukraine and Romania also agreed on the creation of a Euroregion on the Upper Prut (i.e. Bukovina) and another on the lower Danube (centered on southern Bessarabia) in formerly disputed areas. Bucharest gave up its demand for a clause on the need to reverse the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, which Romania holds responsible for the loss of areas in Bessarabia and Bukovina that are currently part of Ukraine and Moldova. Ukraine had regarded that Romanian demand (as did Chisinau) as an implicit territorial claim.

In an attachment to the treaty, the sides agree to negotiate on delimiting their maritime border and continental shelf around Serpents’ Island, a formerly Romanian, now Ukrainian island in the Black Sea. The sides will refrain from any unilateral action in using the continental shelf for a two-year period, and will turn to the International Court of Justice if they fail to settle the issue between themselves. Ukraine will refrain from deploying "offensive weapons" on Serpents’ Island.

Kuchma told a joint news conference with Constantinescu that the signing of the treaty opens a new historic era of mutual confidence between the two countries, closes the book on past disputes in the name of a common future, and facilitates both countries’ joint entry into Europe as full partners. Paying tribute to Constantinescu’s political courage in promoting the treaty against considerable resistance in Romania, Kuchma stated that Ukraine "would salute Romania’s accession to NATO if you manage it." The Romanian parliament now appears likely to ratify the document, primarily in order to improve the country’s qualifications for admission to the alliance. Ukraine’s Security Council head, Volodymyr Horbulin, commented that the treaty with Romania completes a series of treaties for Ukraine that now guarantees the borders with all its neighbors. (Flux, Ukrinform, UNIAN, June 2)

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