Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Romania, Pak have uninterrupted ties for 56 years

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Romania has contributed to the development of Pakistani economy by building cement factories in Labelled and Kohat, refineries in Karachi, tractor assembly factory near Islamabad and many other projects in various fields: Nicolae Goia

EXCLUSIVE

Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Romania to Pakistan Nicolae Goia talked to CENTRELINE, daily Islamabad Post and DNA news agency, on the occasion of national day of Romania. The ambassador touched upon various issues ranging from bilateral relations to COVID 19 latest situation in his country. Here is the text of his interview.

 

ON COVID SITAUTION

In 2020 COVID-19 affected almost all countries and more than 50 million people around the world. It has governments operating in a context of radical uncertainty, and faced with difficult trade-offs given the health, economic and social challenges it raises. By spring 2020, more than half of the world’s population had experienced a lockdown with strong containment measures. Beyond the health and human tragedy of the coronavirus, it is now widely recognized that the pandemic triggered the most serious economic crisis since World War II.

Our countries are facing unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 the strain on our governments is extreme, and the impact on people all over the world continues to grow.

Under the terms of a government emergency ordinance, Romania’s government is taking steps to address the short-fall in income that people and businesses may be experiencing. The measures pertain to the technical unemployment allowance, the granting of free paid days to parents for the purpose of child-care, and the payment of the return to work incentive, amongst others.

The next measures taken by the Romanian authorities against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Romania benefited from a high percentage of approval from the population and were considered to be qualitative.

BILATERAL RELATIONS:

Romania and Pakistan have established diplomatic relations in 1964, we have had uninterrupted diplomatic ties for  56 years, during which my country has contributed to the development of Pakistani economy by building cement factories in Labelled and Kohat, refineries in Karachi, tractor assembly factory near Islamabad and many other projects in various fields.

We have tradition, we have many success stories, and we have all the necessary ingredients to reset our economic cooperation to a much higher level that it is right now. As the ambassador of Romania in Pakistan, I will put high on my agenda laying down the foundation for increasing the people to people contact, work system so that our expertise in the fields like construction, infrastructure, insurance, banking and finance, MSE etc. will be transferred to our Pakistani partners. We are going to encourage Romanian businessmen to invest in Pakistan, we will support the process of training young Pakistani in Romania.

Bilateral political relations between Romania and Pakistan are from cordial to excellent. An important number of high level visits on both sides have given impetus to these relations.

We aim to expand our bilateral political dialogue and keep in mind that the consultations between Ministries of Foreign Affairs are becoming instrumental in promoting and supporting the mutually beneficial items on our common agenda, as well as in preparing high level contacts.

The real potential of parliamentary relations between Romania and Pakistan demands more frequent contacts at the different level (Parliament or Senate), in order to identify and employ all the resources available for promoting and developing the cooperation in the political, economic, trade, education, defence, cultural fields, as well as, fighting against terrorism and extremism.

The very existence of the Romanian and Pakistani parliamentary friendship groups is important to continue parliamentary contacts at all levels with Pakistan, especially to the political-diplomatic dialogue between both Parliaments.

The economic and trade relations between both countries have been growing for the last decades and Romania is an important trading partner of Pakistan. Both countries have been enjoying historical friendship and traditional cooperation in many fields for the past many years but there is a need to enhance trade volume between booth countries. Our main priority is to increase and diversify the commercial exchanges between Romania and Pakistan, in a balanced manner for exports and imports.

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MUTUAL COOPERATION:

Nowadays, there is a strong need to strengthen the international economic cooperation and, simultaneously, to reconstruct the traditional relationship with the old friends, Pakistan among them.

Besides the bilateral cooperation through mutual investments, we are also interested to find options of working together on the third markets where, Romania and Pakistan might conjugate their resources and energies in the most constructive way. This is, unfortunately, a domain which had been somehow neglected lately because of focusing on the internal reconstruction of economy. Romania and Pakistan do have common areas of interest both geographically (Near East, Northern Africa etc.) and thematically (the common interest of developing sectors as IT and communications, civil constructions and infrastructure, agriculture etc.).

Our priorities, bilaterally, but also at EU level, are to support the democratic evolution of Pakistan, to intensify commercial trade and investments, and to consolidate  regional stability, with special focus on the situation in Afghanistan.

I am fully aware that the huge  potential of our bilateral relations demands more frequent contacts at the government level, in order to identify and employ all the resources available for promoting and developing our cooperation in the political, economic, trade, energy, culture, education, defence fields.

Romanian companies could be involved in development project in Pakistan by supplying equipment and other components. Our companies have the capacity and technical expertise to cooperate in areas such as oil and gas exploration and extraction, petrochemical refining facilities, tractors and farm equipment, training aircraft for military pilots, helicopter maintenances, security and surveillances systems, construction of high power lines, equipment for power plants, assembly of trucks and motor vehicles.

I would like to point out in this context the excellent cooperation between Pakistan and Romania in the military field. Romania Damen Shipyards – Galati constructed two modern 2,300-ton corvettes for Pakistan Navy. The last corvette was launched on September of 2020. The ships will be used by Pakistan Navy for a range of tasks, including maritime security operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering, combat search-and-rescue (CSAR), and anti-surface and anti-air operations.

 

 

PEOPLE TO PEOPLE CONTACTS:

Bilateral cultural relations are playing an important role in the development of friendship and partnership between the peoples of Romania and Pakistan. I believe that cultural ties thanks to historical relations and the warm feelings that the two peoples share for each other create a huge potential for greater collaboration. We are also convinced that future holds even better prospects as regards cultural relations between Romania and Pakistan.

Culture is an area where we can cooperate with each other in order to increase  people to people cooperation between the two countries . I genuinely believe Pakistan has a rich cultural background and so does Romania, therefore, multiplying the number  of contacts in this particular area shall be high on my agenda during my stay.

I am fully aware that the huge  potential of our bilateral relations demands more frequent contacts at the government level, in order to identify and employ all the resources available for promoting and developing our cooperation in the political, economic, trade, energy, culture, education, defence fields.

I believe that the bilateral political dialogue is ripe enough to accommodate periodical exchanges of views and assessments on regional stability and security issues, related mainly to the strategies embraced by our governments that aim at managing and solving the frozen conflict and at ensuring a balanced regional development with a special emphasis on Afghanistan.

I am interested in continuing to update and modernize the bilateral framework, taking into account that Romania is a   member of  the EU.

Romanian companies could be involved in development project in Pakistan by supplying equipment and other components. Our companies have the capacity and technical expertise to cooperate in areas such as oil and gas exploration and extraction, petrochemical refining facilities, tractors and farm equipment, training aircraft for military pilots, helicopter maintenances, security and surveillances systems, construction of high power lines, equipment for power plants, assembly of trucks and motor vehicles.

There is a big interest in developing cooperation in the education and culture sector shown by Romanian and Pakistani institutes. I hope that the number and the diversity of the cultural exchanges between our both countries will increase in the future, for a better reciprocal understanding, strengthening our traditional friendship and enhancing the people contacts.

YOUR IMPRESSIONS ABOUT PAKISTAN

Pakistan is strategically located between the twin forces of competition and collaboration in the mega-region that embraces Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, and Caucasus. In this context it is important to note that Pakistan has a versatile geopolitical potential which can multiply opportunities for cooperation with important regional players.

Increased regional stability could have a stabilizing effect for ongoing domestic efforts, hence Pakistan had committed itself to supporting the reconciliation effort in Afghanistan and is working toward normalization of relations with India.

In my opinion Pakistan has been very active diplomatically since its inception and the new government it working with success on global perception management in order to achieve foreign policy objectives.

I, as the Romanian Ambassador in Pakistan, have developed a true affection for your country, my second home for a while, and wish with all my heart that Pakistan will enjoy stability, peace and prosperity the Pakistani people so much deserve.

(Full text of the interview shall be published in the December 2020 issue of CENTRELINE magazine)



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