Romania’s foreign minister plays down secret peace talks between lawmakers and Russian ambassador

Romania’s foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu on Friday played down  secret ‘peace talks’ between the Russian ambassador and four lawmakers saying they “had no official value.”

The four from the ruling Social Democratic Party and three from the nationalist AUR party and independent, requested the meeting with the ambassador Valery Kuzmin this week.

They told him they wanted Romania to adopt a position of neutrality in the conflict in neighboring Ukraine which Russia invaded on Feb. 24.

They even offered themselves as peace negotiators.

Romania is a member of NATO which has condemned the unprovoked war.  It has sent munitions and military assistance to Ukraine.

Bogdan Aurescu told Radio France International on Friday that the meeting “wasn’t really worth commenting on… They were expressing a personal opinion.”

“We are talking about having a position  of neutrality in an armed conflict,” he explained. “It’s clear we are dealing with an armed aggressor, the Russian Federation, which is illegally using armed force against Ukraine, which is a victim. Any third country which is not directly involved is obliged to help the victim and not maintain a position of perfect neutrality,” he said.

„In contemporary international law, neutrality doesn’t mean perfect impartiality between two sides, but presupposes help for the victim.”

Mr. Aurescu, 48, is a professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Bucharest.

Social Democrat chairman Marcel Ciolacu on Thursday said he wanted the Social Democrat lawmaker who attended the meeting to be expelled from the party, which Romania’s largest political group.

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