Ukrainian president to visit Romania

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 File:Wiktor Juschtschenko.jpg

Viktor Yushchenko
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Viktor Yushchenko, the president of Ukraine, will make an official visit to Bucharest, Romania this Thursday. This will be the first visit to Romania of a foreign president since Traian Băsescu became president of Romania in December 2004.

Yushchenko will receive an official welcome ceremony at Cotroceni Palace, the residence of President Băsescu. The Ukrainian president will also give a speech during the afternoon to a joint meeting of the two Chambers of Parliament, in Bucharest's Palace of the Parliament, Europe's largest building.

President Băsescu has tried to thaw relationships between Romania and Ukraine

After leaving Romania early on Friday morning, President Yushchenko will go to Chişinău, Republic of Moldova, to attend the GUUAM meeting, a joint meeting of the head of state of Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova. President Băsescu will also be present at the meeting, since one of the goals of his presidency was to promote stability in the Black Sea region, and most of the GUUAM countries have Black Sea coastlines.

The relationship between Romania and Ukraine has become fairly cool in the last few years, during the presidency of Leonid Kuchma, Yushchenko's predecessor. This was due to economic disputes, as well as a dispute over Ukraine's construction of the Bastroe Channel, which was to be built a few kilometres north of the Romanian border. The Bastroe Channel was opposed by Romania on the grounds that it would damage the Danube Delta ecosystem, affecting Romania's environment. Romania's point of view towards the project was also supported by the European Union and several environmental organisations worldwide.

However, when President Yushchenko was sworn in during the Orange Revolution last year, the two countries gradually improved ties, especially since Băsescu focussed more on the Black Sea region than his predecessor, Ion Illiescu, and said that Romania and Ukraine would try to reach an agreement on their problems without going to international courts.