President Gul, visiting Romanian counterpart stress Georgia's territorial integrity, peace in region
Romanian President Traian Basescu arrived in Istanbul yesterday to pay a one-day working visit. Basescu met with President Abdullah Gul at Ciragan Palace, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also in attendance. The two presidents discussed the recent situation in the Caucasus. Afterwards, Basescu told a joint press conference that he was pleased to see that Turkey and Romania share the same views on preserving Georgia's territorial integrity. "The recent armed clashes between Russia and Georgia damaged the balance of power in the Black Sea," he said. "It needs to be restored through a new arrangement. The US can play a key role towards this end." He also reiterated his country's firm support for Turkey's EU accession bid. For his part, Gul also said he was pleased to see Romania and Turkey share the same views on the recent crisis in the Caucasus, and said both countries believe the issue should be resolved based on Georgia's territorial integrity to restore peace, security and stability to the region. He added that both parties should fully abide by their recent cease-fire agreement. He also said his talks with Basescu would do much to improve relations between Turkey and Romania, as well as regional cooperation. Gul said there are $2 billion in Turkish investments in Romania, adding that as of last year bilateral trade totaled almost $7 billion. Romania is Turkey's biggest trade partner in the Balkans. Asked about Basescu urging a "new arrangement" for restoring balance in the Black Sea and a possible US role in this, Gul said, "I don't think a new arrangement is needed in the region. The Montreux Convention has worked very well for decades. The Black Sea is a symbol of peace, stability and tranquility, and as countries with Black Sea coasts, we are determined to protect the region's peace and stability." During their meeting, Basescu and Gul also discussed joint energy projects.