Ukrainian press: If Romania gets Maikan Island, Russia will raise territorial demands from Ukraine

Publish date: 19-04-2010
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"We will not give our island to Romania", "Ukraine will not surrender our island to Romania", "Romania claims an Ukrainian island", "Romania raises again territorial demands on Ukraine" - only a few of the titles featured in Russian by the Ukrainian press, after deputy Ghenadi Zadirko accused Bucharest for addressing territorial demands, "targeting a small, uninhabited island, Maikan, measuring 1,500 over 800 meters, located between Chilia and Vilkovo.

"Ukraine may lose the unpopulated island on [river] Danube. Romania claims this land and the navigable neighbouring channel. If Romania is successful, this will make other regional states raise territorial aspiration on Ukraine as well. Especially when it comes to Russia", Vzgliad reads.

At the same time, Ukraine's business attach at the UN International Court, namely ambassador Vladimir Vasilenko, believes that "for the moment, there is no reason to adjust the state border line between Ukraine and Romania".

The diplomat opinionated that this was not about territorial requests, but about an issue that surfaced following the change in the Danube's navigable sailing line. "There is a clear change in the current sailing line and, consequently, the position of some banks and islands on the navigable channel are changed", Vasilenko explained.

According to him, the issue of who owns the Maikan Island was settled by the bi-lateral agreement signed by Ukraine and Romania in 2003, which addressed the state borders regime.

"The 2003 document stipulates, among others, that in the case of hydro-geographic modifications, both parties must take measures top restore the previous situation. This is not about Ukraine's territorial requests from Romania and vice-versa, Romania's demand from Ukraine. It's about solving the situation created around this island that resulted from natural alterations. In our view, the Ukrainian view, hydro-geographical changes do not have a cardinal character. An issue regarding the ownership of the island or affecting the border line cannot be raised at the moment", Vasilenko stressed.

Romanian Foreign Affairs minister' reaction

Completely unjustified statements - this is how the Romanian Foreign Affairs minister Teodor Baconschi characterised the information quoted by the Ukrainian press reading that Romania has territorial demands on the Maikan island. The 2003 Treaty clearly stipulates the principles according to which the common Danube border is drawn and allows the alteration of the ownership for some islands, should measurements indicate it, without this meaning that Romania has got territorial demands over Ukraine.

The border with Ukraine has not been updated since 1973. Currently, the Romanian-Ukrainian joint Commission is handling the issue and studies nine border documents. The Romanian representatives in the Commission are Interior Ministry, Border Police, Foreign Affairs, Transport Ministry, Environment Ministry and National Cadastre Agency staff.

"Drawing the border line must be done according to the current to the navigable sailing line, the way in which it results after the measurements and checks. The ownership of the island is established from case to case, according to their position with the sailing line. Modifying their ownership is allowed specifically by the Treaty with Ukraine. Under no circumstances can we link these issues with the Romanian party's territorial demands. The 2003 treaty sees in the first article that putting together new border documents does not represent a border revise between Romania and Ukraine", minister Teodor Baconschi said.

The minister could not say if the current sailing now can justify Romania's ownership of the Maikan Island. He argues that experts are carrying out studies and a conclusion will be drawn according to them and the situation on the ground, according to the two principles formulated by the border Treaty.

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