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Basescu tells OSCE commissioner minorities the hottest issue between Bucharest and Belgrade

The Romanian president Traian Basescu told today (Tue) Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner for National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) the situation of the Romanian community in Serbia is currently  the ‘hottest issue’ between Bucharest and Belgrade, local press informs.

Basescu, who met Vollebaek at Cotroceni Palace this morning, said he hoped the recent protocol signed with the neighbouring country on minorities to be respected by Serbia.

"For sure we will find solutions, but at the same time we fully understand the ongoing campaign (snap presidential election following the resignation of Boris Tadic on 1 April). We have a protocol that we signed two months ago in Brussels and we are hoping it will be implemented", Basescu said.

Romania and Serbia signed on 1 March a protocol on minorities’ rights in Serbia. The protocol, imposing the respecting of rights of the Vlachs minority in Serbia, of Romanian origin, was a condition for Romania to accept the granting of EU candidate country status to Serbia.

Romania’s stance was criticized by the several EU leaders.  Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle regretted that the internal agenda of Romania had dictated its stance regarding Serbia’s EU bid. "This is not the European spirit", he said.

Romanian officials are unhappy about the way the Vlach community is treated in Serbia in general, but the tough reaction seems to have been triggered by the proposal made by the government in Belgrade to change the Latin alphabet of the Vlachs to the Cyrillic alphabet.

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