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Sulfina, Made Responsible by the Foreigners

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19 Apr 2005 - 00:00

The Minister of Environment, Sulfina Barbu, receives a hard hit from related international conventions and organizations. Like a lot of people in the country, the international experts complain about the collaboration with the present leading board of the Ministry.

  • by ALEXANDRU NASTASE
  • OBSERVER

  • At the beginning of April, the Government led by Calin Popescu Tariceanu was presenting in Bucharest the balance of the first 100 governing days. The phrases were emphasizing remarkable progresses, about the fact that the economy and the other domains are on the "right way", and the results will be very important.

    LETTER

    In the same period, in Geneva, Romania’s diplomatic Mission was announced by the international environment conventions and organizations, having their headquarters in the Swiss city, about their complaints regarding the new leading board of the Ministry of Environment in Bucharest. Sulfina Barbu was blamed of the way in which she understands to treat the international issues. Sulfina is accused of the fact she didn’t name any new replacements in three months time since changing the Ministry’s international team due to political reasons. In other words, in less than 100 days, Sulfina Barbu "succeeded" in turning the international experts against her, which, as far as we know, is unprecedented. After receiving the notices from the international organizations, the Romanian diplomatic Mission in Geneva immediately let Bucharest know about this. Razvan Ungureanu, the Romanian External Affairs Minister, sent Sulfina Barbu a letter in which, using a neutral tone, he asked her to acknowledge the things she was accused of and to fix the problem.

    CONCRETE ACCUSATIONS

    The letter sent to Bucharest by the Romanian diplomatic Mission in Geneva showed that: "The international conventions and organizations collaborate closely to the contact persons/ the focal points named by the authorities in the moment of the adherence to it. The changes or the reorganizations made inside several ministries, including the subordinated agencies, resulted in changes of the contact persons for several conventions as well". The Mission in Geneva has been signaled about the absence of the contact people by the secretariats of three of the most important conventions, in front of which, due to the team led by Sulfina Barbu, Romania is not represented anymore. Moreover, some activities of the respective secretariats couldn’t take place because the Romanian side didn’t send its new representatives: The Basel Convention for the transport of dangerous waste - contact person and member of the Convention’s Bureau - Mr. Ioan Jelev, former state secretary; the Espoo Convention for the evaluation of the environmental impact regarding the Frontier crossing context - Mr. Ion Bica, former president of the National Agency for Environment Protection and president of the Convention’s Bureau and the Ramsar Convention for the protection of the humid areas with international importance, Mr. Virgil Munteanu, former governor of the Administration of the Danube Delta Biosphere’s Reserve and member of the subgroup for financial problems in the Convention’s Permanent Committee. "The discussions with some of the representatives of the mentioned secretaries found them emphasizing the importance of the notification of the new contact people as soon as possible, where this is needed, in order to allow the continuation of the activities, and of the bureau reunions especially".

    A LOT OF COMPLAINTS

    Romania’s mission in Geneva shows that, in the dialogue with the representatives of the Secretariat of the Convention in Espoo regarding the Bistroe problem, they expressed their dissatisfaction regarding the way in which the collaboration with the new representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Waters’ Management is developing. "This issue appeared in the context in which the Romanian delegation to the Parts’ Convention in Cavtat (June 2004) launched the proposal of the organization of the 2007th Parts’ Convention in Romania and, as a consequence, Romania’s representative has been named the president of the Convention’s Bureau. As a result of the changes in personnel, the new representative of Romania is yet to be notified and Romania had no representatives for the Bureau’s latest reunion in February 2005. The secretary of the Espoo Convention stated that the next reunion of the Bureau will take place between the 27th and the 29th of April 2005 and characterized Romania’s participation as "indispensable". Also, he suggested that the Romanian authorities should reconfirm the organization offer for the Parts’ Conference in 2007 (Romania should insure the 170,000-200,000 euros cost)", says the letter sent to Sulfina Barbu by the Ministry of External Affairs. Minister Ungureanu, by explaining to Sulfina that, in time, the foreigners have supported Romania, he asks her to fix the problem as soon as possible: "Taking into account the consequences of such discrepancies, even if they are administrative, for Romania’s relations with the international organizations and for the other actions that have a direct interest for the Romanian side, I am asking you to start the necessary procedures regarding the abidance of Romania’s agreements made during the Convention in Espoo and the prevention of such situations that might affect Romania’s reputation".

    Translation : SORIN BALAN
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