Puneet Varma (Editor)

Romania's role in the Kosovo crisis

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For much of the previous nine months, the Romanian government, president and parliament had been issuing statements and adopting decisions in support of NATO in its dealings with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (today Serbia and Montenegro). These extended to allowing NATO forces access to Romanian territory for actions against the country.

In particular, the Washington summit of NATO leaders in April 1999 had failed to deliver the desired and anticipated invitation to Romania to join the alliance.

The sense of disappointment and indeed frustration was echoed three months later when Emil Constantinescu criticised NATO and the EU of "double standards" and for treating Romania unfairly given its support during the Kosovo crisis and the economic costs it was suffering as a consequence of the embargo on oil sales to Yugoslavia: "Every day, personalities from NATO and the EU come to Bucharest and tell us that during the (Kosovo) conflict we behaved like member states of NATO. But nobody offers us security guarantees or speaks about recovering our losses in respect of the embargo… While we are patted on the back and congratulated, our losses mount day by day."

Later in July 1999, Constantinescu was reported as accusing the west of "indifference" to Romania. Sympathy for this position came from the Romanian Foreign Minister, Andrei Pleșu who noted the "accumulated frustration" among the population with the West which had shown that its priorities did not lie with former communist countries. During the Kosovo conflict it was clear that popular attitudes and some leading media commentators were becoming increasingly hostile towards the west. And with the EU's decision to create the "Stabilisation and Association Agreement" with states in the western Balkans, there were even fears that in the absence of an invitation to negotiate EU membership Romania's status could be relegated.

In October 1998, the Romanian Parliament approved a government decision to allow NATO forces limited access "for emergency and unforeseen situations" to the country's air space in the case of military intervention by the alliance in FR Yugoslavia. This was followed in early April with considerable logistical and political support to NATO in its attempts to resolve the crisis in Kosovo. Not only did the government risk popular disapproval in backing NATO's bombing campaign but Parliament also approved a NATO request for unlimited use of Romanian airspace. On the policies pursued by the Romanian government during the Kosovo crisis.

At their Madrid Summit in July 1997, NATO leaders had inferred that Romania along with Slovenia would be next in line for membership and that membership invitations could be extended at NATO's 50th Anniversary Summit in 1999.

As of early 2008, Romania governing and opposition parties are agreeing that Kosovo's independence cannot be recognized. World press speculates that this has to do with setting a precedent which will later allow some Hungarian-majority areas to secede from Romania, but the Romanian Parliament's resolution, voted with an overwhelming majority, shows that Kosovo UID is breaking international law on multiple counts.

References

Romania's role in the Kosovo crisis Wikipedia


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