26 August 2004 -- Romania said today it would take a dispute with Ukraine over oil and natural gas exploration rights in the Black Sea to the International Court.
A Romanian Foreign Ministry statement said Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana notified Ukrainian Ambassador Teofil Bauer of the suit today.
Romania also demanded Ukraine to stop the construction of a canal in the Danube Delta, the same day Ukraine officially inaugurated works on the project, the statement said.
Romania controls more than 90 percent of the delta, the rest is Ukrainian. The international community has criticized Ukraine's decision to open the Bystroye Canal, which they say threatens protected fauna and flora in the delta that is shared.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, however, dismissed the criticism as politically and economically motivated. He said that "all the international ecological requirements were met."
"You all know well how many skeptical accusations and even open provocations there have been that set the entire international community against this project. Attempts to provoke ecology activists still continue. But we know very well whose interests stand behind these attempts to stir the waters around the canal, while in fact all international ecological requirements were met during its construction."
The Danube Delta's nature reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
(international news agencies)