Balkans: April 28, 2000


Romania's and Moldova's foreign ministers signed a new "basic treaty" between their two nations. The treaty took seven years to negotiate and according to several sources is certain to fail to satisfy Romanian nationalists and Moldovan separatists. The big problem of course, remains the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that allowed the Soviet Union to annex Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from Romania. Romanian nationalists want to stress the "fraternal" nature of relations between the two nations, while Moldovans are suspicious that such language could lead to complete absorption by Romania. The treaty attempts to blur these basic differences and as a result is (according to an RFE quote of a Romanian newspaper) "neither horse, nor donkey." The treaty establishes "privileged relations" between Romania and Moldova. The RFE report says "No reference is made to "two Romanian states," but mention is made of the joint "roots in the historic past," and of a "community of culture and language."" One commentator noted that language that would have voided or annulled the Hitler-Stalin Pact might have made a diplomaticv ase for returning Moldova to the status of a Romanian
province. Why agree to this treaty? RFE suggest because both nations are seeking better relations with the European Union and the EU insists that any disagreements (particularly border disagreements) be resolved peacefully and by consensus.


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