”States’ political relations could break in a few hours,
economic ones in some months,
but cultural relations could not be destroyed even after centuries”.
Tasin Gemil, Director of the Institute of Turkish Studies, Babeș – Bolyai University,
Romania’s first Ambassador in Azerbaidjan (1998 - 2003),
Romania’s Ambassador in Turkmenistan (2004-2008)
An ample project for the third millenium:
“Great Silk Road”
In September 1990, in Vladivostok, in the speech given at "The Asia-Pacific Countries: Dialogue, Peace, Cooperation", Eduard Shevardnadze presented a large project: “The Great Silk Road”. The last foreign minister of the Soviet Union, the architect of the end of the Cold War, who then became President of Georgia, continued to think globally in the new international political layout.
The first step consisted of a regional project development embedded in this great global strategy: TRACECA, a transport passageway between Central Europe and South West Asia, crossing the East of Europe, Black Sea, Caucasus, Caspian Sea, Central Asia.
In 1996, Romania did not take part in the TRACECA project, but President Emil Constantinescu resorted to the meetings with political leaders to demonstrate the importance of our country regarding its emplacement at the intersection of the main Antiquity transport routes: the North-South corridor, between the Baltic and Aegean Sea, known as “The Amber Road” and “Silk Road” and the East-West corridor, a connection between China and Eastern Europe.
On July 15th, 1998, in his speech at the U. S. Congress, the Romanian President pleaded for the involvement of the USA in the “Silk Road” revival and his request obtained a positive answer. The U.S. Congress funded the feasibility studies for gas and oil transportation from the Caspian Sea to Western Europe through Romania and, further through Slovenia and Croatia and after Slobodan Milosevic’s dismission through the other ex-Yugoslavian countries. During a visit in Georgia, just few days before the visit in the USA, President Emil Constantinescu along with President Eduard Shevardnadze initiated the ferryboat line Constanța – Poti.
In September 1998, during the Baku high level international conference “The Ancient Silk Road Revival”, with the participation of 32 presidents, on behalf of Romania Emil Constantinescu signed the “Comprehensive Agreement regarding the International Transport for the Development of the corridor Europe – Caucasus – Asia”.