YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–During the meeting with professors and students of the Yerevan State University–the President of Romania Ion Iliescu said that Stalin’s politics caused the Karabakh conflict–where the majority of population is Armenian–appeared to be within Azerbaijan–and Nakhichevan–where the majority of population are Azeris–left separated from Azerbaijan by Armenia. He also stated that because of Stalin–the Romania’s historic lands were divided into three parts also.
According to Iliescu–"such problems must be solved by political means and not by force." Citing the aggressive politics–led by Russia against Romania from the beginning of the XIXth century–Ion Iliescu said that at the present moment the governmen’s of the two countries have established bilateral relations on a new–democratic basis. He also stressed that Russia has the capabilities to export gas and oil–and if Romania’s resources depleted–Russia would be able to supply the country with the resources it needed. "I hope that the unification of our economies will be beneficiary for both of our countries"–stressed the Romanian president.
On Thursday–President Iliescu visited the Genocide Memorial and wrote the following in the Memorial guestbook–"For tribute of the memory of the victims and heroism of the Armenian people." The president laid a wreath at the memorial commemorating the massacre of 1.5 million Armenia’s in 1915. He also visited the Genocide Museum and Institute–located nearby and planted a fir tree in the special lane.
"Romanians have very warm feelings towards Armenia’s and the Armenia’s are always given a warm reception in Romania. We understand all those tragedies Armenia’s had to go through and we shall always stand by them as we build our common future," Iliescu told reporters after visiting the Genocide Museum.
The same topic was touched upon at the meeting in the Yerevan State University–where Ion Iliescu–in particular–said–"You had a tragic history–you lost great territories and this is the reason that there are more Armenia’s in the foreign countries than in Armenia. We watch with an interest how you create a new country. Romania will always remain a friend to Armenia." Your history is tragic–and you lost a tremendous amount of your historic land." Iliescu met with the Yerevan State University professors and students the second day of his official visit to Yerevan.
He was accompanied by the head of the Armenian delegation of the Armenian-Romanian economic cooperation commission–Armenia’s transport and communication minister Andranik Manukian.
The rector of the University Radik Martirosian underlined Iliescu’s role in Romania’s accession to the European community.
Then Martirosian presented the diploma of honorary doctor of the Yerevan State University and a Gold Medal to Ion Iliescu. The scientific council of the university awarded Iliescu–evaluating his public–political and scientific activities and contribution to the development of the Armenian-Romanian friendly relations.
Iliescu thanked Martirossian for the medal and the tremendous honor–saying that he had visited Armenia’still in 1953 and studied the scheme of Sevan Hydro Power Station. He is convinced that their cooperation in the education and science fields will further promote the development of the Armenian-Romanian relations.
President Iliescu and his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian had a tete-a-tete meeting in Yerevan on Wednesday and discussed the development of bilateral relations–especially economic relations–and they also spoke about aspects of world cooperation in fighting terrorism.
Economic cooperation was one of the key issues discussed during the meeting–President Iliescu stated his dissatisfaction with the current volume of bilateral commercial exchanges–which he characterized as "modest." Iliescu pointed out the importance of taking advantage of the ferry-boat line linking Constantza to Batumi–by attracting Azerbaijan in the commercial exchanges–which would boost social and economic relations and the entrance of these states in the European market–according to the president.
Another important market that is not sufficiently capitalized on is the oil market–according to the President Kocharian.
During the Romanian-Armenian talks–the two sides approached issues related to the cooperation in transportation–railway and road construction–and metal processing. Both sides agreed that only a political solution can thwart the existing conflicts–for negotiations including the fight against terrorism. The two heads of states also pointed out the importance of eliminating the causes of terrorism–which include poverty–ignorance–and religious fanaticism–and they spoke about ways to enhance the democracy consolidation process–promoting economic reforms and ways to modernize the economy.
President Ion Iliescu also said that it was time that Europe should come back to its old borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea.
" I believe that the time has come to complete the definition given to Europe by general Charles de Gaulle–from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains–by accepting the viewpoint of those geographers who see our continent’s eastern borders being the Caspian Sea"–President Ion Iliescu said in his speech at the official dinner offered in his honor by his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian.
"I have repeatedly said that the so-called south-east of Europe is not in the area where the Romanians are–located in the center of Europe. It is there where the Armenia’s–the Georgians and the Azeris are," President Iliescu said.
The Romanian head of state said that Armenia and Romania are two of the countries that have survived the strokes of history–regaining–not a long time ago–the possibility to follow the path of democracy and liberty. It is the reason why these countries were given the role to restore "the dignity–efficiency and brilliance it once had to that part of the European continent that used to be the cradle of a millenary civilization," the Romanian president said.
President Iliescu also met with National Assembly speaker Armen Khachatrian where Khachatrian told Iliescu that Armenia highly appreciates the present level of the Armenian-Romanian relations based on the principles of benevolence and mutual assistance–and that Armenia considers the expansion of friendly relations between the two countries very important. Vice Chairman of the Parliament Gagik Aslanian–heads of deputy factions and groups as well as chairmen of Parliamentary standing commissions also attended the meeting.
The Parliamentary Public Relations Department told reporters that the Parliament Speaker emphasized the importance of mutual efforts directed both at the political cooperation and at the development of trade and economic relations as well as the social and cultural relations. "The legislatures of our countries must accommodate the development of economic relations–and enable the two countries to get engaged in free economic activities," Armen Khachatrian said.
Ion Iliescu said that his visit to Armenia’symbolizes the friendly relations between the two nations. Romania celebrated the 1700th anniversary of Christianity as state religion in Armenia and the 600th anniversary of Armenia’s first bishop. President Iliescu said that his country was the first to recognize the independence of Armenia.