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Romania/Ukraine: Basic Treaty Talks Stalled

Prague, 17 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Romanian Defense Minister Victor Babiuc says talks with Ukraine on the pending basic treaty are stalled over three main problems. Babiuc says they are the demarcation of the border on a branch of the Danube River in its delta; the Serpents Island in the Black Sea; and the Romanian minority in the Ukraine.

In an interview yesterday with RFE/RL's Romanian service, Babiuc said that contrary to international practice, Ukraine wants the border traced on the Romanian side of the Danube's Chilia branch, instead of the middle of the waterway.

Kyiv is also demanding a continental shelf around the Serpents Island. Babiuc said this, too,contradicted international maritime legislation, because the island (which was annexed by the former Soviet Union in 1946) is not inhabited. He said Bucharest wants the Hague International Tribunal to rule on the matter if negotiations are still stalled after two years.

Finally, Babiuc says, Bucharest is demanding that the Romanian minority in Ukraine be the granted rights recognized by the Council of Europe.