Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu takes part in special meeting of EU's Foreign Affairs Council
EU The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu is taking part in Brussels today in a special meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, convened by the vice-president of the European Commission Josep Borrell, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy in the wake of the recent developments in the Middle East. According to a news release issued by the Romanian Foreign Ministry, European officials will exchange opinions and assessments on the situation in Iraq and will identify ways for the EU to contribute to easing the tensions in the region. The developments in Libya will also be tackled.
ELECTIONS In Bucharest, PM Ludovic Orban announced after today’s talks with President Klaus Iohannis, that together they decided to initiate procedures for early parliamentary elections. The PM added that a work group has been put together to handle negotiations with the parliamentary political parties for support in this initiative. Ludovic Orban said that the Social Democratic Party, which has a relative majority in Parliament, hinders the Government’s initiatives and that the only solution is to have snap parliamentary elections as close as possible to the local elections scheduled this May. Meanwhile, the Social Democrats are considering a motion of no-confidence.
UN Romania’s representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Ion Jinga, addressed the Security Council as part of a ministerial debate on “Maintenance of international peace and security upholding the UN Charter.” The Romanian diplomat mentioned that 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the UN, which remains the most adequate platform for collectively tackling threats to international peace and security, and that the UN Charter remains the reference document in this respect. He emphasised that the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa prove once again the responsibility of the international community in facilitating political solutions able to support long-lasting peace. Ambassador Jinga also spoke about Romania’s contribution to peacekeeping, proven among other things by its participation in 2019 in 10 UN peacekeeping missions.
AIR CRASH The USA, Canada and Britain said that information from multiple sources indicates that the Ukrainian aircraft that crashed on Wednesday near Tehran has been taken down by Iranian armed forces. 176 people died. Iran may have accidentally shot down the plane in which 63 Canadian citizens were traveling, among other nationals, Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau said. The US president Donald Trump and British PM Boris Johnson confirmed the hypothesis. All parties now ask Iran to initiate a detailed and thorough investigation. The Iranian authorities dismissed the latest intelligence as "ridiculous" and part of an American psychological manoeuvre. The Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kiev crashed shortly after taking off from the Tehran airport, just hours after Iran had launched ballistic missiles against 2 US military bases in Iraq, with the Iranians subsequently on alert for prospective American retaliation. According to American intelligence, the infrared signature from two suspected missile launches was identified, followed shortly afterwards by the infrared blip from the burning Boeing 737-800. On Thursday Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation said the 3-year old plane faced technical problems shortly after take-off.
HANDBALL Romania’s men’s handball team plays tonight in Benevento, Italy, against Georgia, in its first match in Group 3 of the qualification phase for the 2021 World Championship in Egypt. On Saturday Romania will play against Kosovo, and on Sunday they will take on the host country. The group winner qualifies into the second qualification phase, scheduled for mid-April. Manager Rares Fortuneanu, who also coaches Saint Raphael, in France’s top handball league, says he is confident Romania can qualify into next year’s final tournament, the first with 32 teams taking part. In the women’s competition, Romania reached the main groups of the World Championship held last month in Japan.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)