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Minister: Ukraine, Romania solve 20-year-old dispute over Danube-Black Sea canal

by Martin Fornusek December 16, 2023 11:39 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's Environment Minister Ruslan Strilets at the 9th meeting of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) in Geneva. Photo published on Dec. 16, 2023. (Ruslan Strilets/Facebook)
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Ukraine and Romania resolved a protracted conflict over the construction of the Deepwater Navigation Route Danube-Black Sea, in which Bucharest accused Kyiv of violating environmental standards, Ukraine's Environment Minister Ruslan Strilets announced on Dec. 16.

The dispute has been ongoing since 2004, when Ukraine started the construction of the canal through the Danube Delta distributaries Chilia, Old Istambul, and Bystre, along a route mostly coinciding with the Romanian-Ukrainian border.

The project came under criticism from Romania and the European Commission, who cited the lack of environmental impact assessment.

According to Strilets, the resolution to the dispute was reached at the 9th meeting of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) in Geneva.

"We have done our homework and overcome a long journey to align the project with the Convention's requirements," Strilets wrote on social media.

"Ukraine values good relations with its neighbors and compliance with international law. We want and can find a common language to correct the mistakes of the past."

Strilets thanked his Romanian counterpart, Mircea Fechet, for the efforts in achieving this "historic decision" and Moldovan Environment Minister Iordanca Iordanov for presiding over the meeting.

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