Normalisation of Russian-Romanian relations will be one of the themes at the talks on a draft of a basic political treaty between the two states slated to be held in Bucharest on Monday. A delegation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, headed by First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Avdeyev, will participate in the talks. The Romanian side is headed at the talks by Secretary of State of the Bucharest diplomatic agency Christian Diaconescu. The participants in the negotiations consider conclusion of a treaty to be the basis for further development of mutually advantageous cooperation between Russia and Romania. In 1996 the Bucharest authorities actually torpedoed the document which was ready for signing, stating the necessity to make a number of "changes of principle" in it, in particular, provisions condemning the "Riebentrop-Molotov pact" and the problems of the so-called "Romanian gold". Moscow explained its stance to Bucharest and recalled that the pact on condemning which the Romanian side insists was recognised, back in 1989, by the highest legislative body of the USSR to be "invalid from the moment of its signing". As for the "Romanian gold", the bulk of the values and archives, evacuated to Russia during the first world war, was returned to Bucharest in 1935 and 1956, and there exist legal documents signed by both sides, in which the absence of any mutual property claims is confirmed. Lastly, in the Russian side's opinion, the treaty which lays down fundamentals of subsequent bilateral relations, in its spirit and letter must be oriented to a long term and to clear and coherent realities of security and cooperation. In October the diplomatic agencies decided to accelerate the negotiating process, and Bucharest also agreed to put all disputable elements beyond the confines of the fundamental document. It is expected that at the beginning of December the questions of the preparation of a bilateral treaty will be a subject of discussion between the head of Russia's diplomatic agency Igor Ivanov and the leadership of Romania.
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