Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko arrives in Bucharest on Tuesday in an official visit that includes talks with Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu, the speakers of the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament and Romanian Patriarch Daniel, Romanian news agency NewIn informs.
His visit is dominated by important sensible bilateral issues such as the Serpent’s Island, Bastroe Channel and visas.
The Kiev leader visits Romania for the second time since 2005 when he was the first foreign President to visit Traian Basescu.
In 2007, the bilateral relationship between the two countries reached some tense moments.
One of the first issues raised by the Kiev leader was a request that Romania should open some schools to teach Ukrainian in Tulcea and Siret, two main regions where Ukrainian is spoken. At their turn, Kiev officials have opened some Romanian high schools in Odessa.
A re-emerging theme between the two sides is the visa issue: Romanians, as EU citizens should not be required a visa to enter Ukraine. However, despite EU pressures, Kiev authorities did not take any measure to solve the problem.
Ukrainians, for their part, accuse Romanian officials of granting illegal visas to their citizens when entering Romania.
Some other occurring problems like the Serpents Island and the Bastroe Channel in the Danube Delta have tensed the relations even more.
As both countries claim it, the issue is twofold: Ukrainians helped some 80 citizens move on the Black Sea island to claim it while Romanians wish to classify the place as a rock, to have more rights upon it.
The dispute has already reached the International Court of Justice which is to rule on the issue by 2008.
The Bastroe Channel is currently the most sensitive issue between the two countries.
Ukrainian authorities started building it by ignoring environmental consequences. However, Kiev officials have agreed to take part at some public debates regarding the impact of the channel upon the eco-system of the Danube Delta - one of Romania's UNESCO protected sites.
Last but not least, the most recent incident to slide between Romania and Ukraine was the Lvov incident, when a toxic cloud was dangerously close to Romania.
At the time, Ukrainian officials did not announce or make any official statements regarding the composition of the cloud despite risks of the cloud spreading south - which eventually did not happen.