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ForMin Aurescu: There is a legitimate concern over Russian forces massing near Ukraine border

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There is a legitimate concern on the part of the allied states, including Romania, regarding the massing of Russian forces in the vicinity of Ukraine, in the Black Sea region, a massing of troops that is substantial, unprovoked and unjustified, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, said on Monday.

Minister Aurescu held a joint press conference with Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi on Monday.

He said that "a number of conditions imposed by Russia tend to change the parameters of the European security architecture."

"We are open to dialogue, and this is the position that both I and my other NATO colleagues expressed on Friday at the special meeting of foreign ministers, because dialogue is part of NATO's dual approach with respect to Russia. It is an approach that combines, on the one hand, defence and deterrence and, on the other hand, dialogue. In what Romania is concerned (...), we support this dialogue, but at the same time we think that this dialogue must be based on a series of firm and credible deterrence measures," the head of the Romanian diplomacy pointed out.

Aurescu underscored that the dialogue with the Russian Federation "must take place without affecting the principles, values and commitments that represent the foundation of the Alliance, because there are a number of proposals of the Russian Federation that are certainly very difficult to accept, if not unacceptable for allies."

"The most important thing is for the dialogue to take place, for it to be presented with all the arguments of the parties, and the aim of this dialogue, which is taking place in several stages and on various components, must be to de-escalate the security situation. We need the situation to de-escalate, concretely, we need to see it in the field, we need to see a withdrawal of these Russian troops and equipment, and on the other hand we need to put an end the use of threat with using force. This is unacceptable from the point of view of international law," he pointed out.

He also noted that "openness to dialogue has always been present with the Russian Federation."

Minister Aurescu added that these days "we speak of a dialogue and not of a negotiation," a dialogue that could lead to "a clarification of positions."

 

În the joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi, Aurescu also said that "a new chapter" in the relationship between the two countries is beginning.

"We are starting a new chapter in the bilateral relationship, a chapter of close contacts, both at the political level as well as with a projection on the economic area, on the investment area and we want to go step by step, but at a very fast pace in developing the dynamics of our bilateral relationship," said the head of the Romanian diplomacy.

He stressed that the current visit to Romania of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan is the first in a period of more than two decades.

"I thank the Minister for the essential support that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and himself have given to Romania's efforts to repatriate some of the 49 Romanian citizens who were evacuated from Afghanistan, some of the citizens of other allied states who were also evacuated by the Romanian authorities from Afghanistan, as well as of 156 Afghan citizens in situations of risk, in August and September 2021," Bogdan Aurescu specified.

According to him, a "collective approach of the international community in Afghanistan" is needed.

Makhdoom Qureshi also spoke of "a new era in bilateral relations." "I see a promising environment, many opportunities in the future," he said. At the same time, the Pakistani minister stressed that "the private sector is and will be the driving force behind economic relations" between the two countries.

"We have discussed how to promote our economic relations. In the past fiscal year, our trade has increased, despite the pandemic, by 50.6%. But it is far from the potential that exists between us and in the context of the European Union. We want to seize the potential and the opportunities that we have overlooked. It is the right time to move forward," said Makhdoom Qureshi.

Prior to the press conference, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and Pakistan's Embassy to Romania, in the presence of the two ministers.

(Photo:mae.ro)

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