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.
At the same time, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of democratic states in Central Europe, the independent states in the south of the former USSR and the Caucasus, EU experts initiated a project to develop transport between Central Europe and Central Asia, TRACECA, encompassing the connections between the West and the Far East.
In 2013, China launched its own project "Belt and Road Initiative". For this initiative, China has developed the cooperation with the Central and Eastern European countries within the "16 +1" project.
In the 1990's, Emil Constantinescu has tenaciously used all meetings with Western leaders in Central Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Far East, to plead for a third-millennium “Silk Road” which would cross Romania and to support the Central Europe and Central Asia transport corridor project. Emil Constantinescu's steps for the rebirth of the “Silk Road” and the inclusion of Romania in this project continued after the end of the presidency, at East-West Institute meetings, Eurasia Summits in Istanbul, Baku International Forums, the conferences of the Madrid club or the World Art and Science Academy in Alma-Ata.
Twenty years ago, when Emil Constantinescu and Eduard Shevardnadze spoke about the revival of the “Silk Road”, the trips of Ibn Battuta in the Levant, Emil Constantinescu argued that the new “Silk Road” must be more than a project to transport goods or energy from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe or China: a cultural project that stimulates mutual knowledge and trust.
The Levant, has been a milestone between Western civilization and the Far East, and can build through education and dialogue a long-lasting peace in a safer future which we all desire.
Dr. Alberto Zucconi, co-chair of the World Academy of Art and Science:
„We see clear how much important is the rebirth of the „Silk Road”. That s because the life of the communities of this area may become better if they communicate, they are interacted and they collaborate, in this way they produce also prosperity.We don’t get rich just by trade. We will get rich by relating to each other. The culture and the social relations will make in time wellness people. That is an important dimension of „The New Silk Road” project”.
Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia 2000-2010:
"The initiative to build a new Silk Road must also be seen not only as a key part of the Chinese economic development strategy, but also the development of Asia, Europe and vice versa. Here Levant appears as a bridge between Asian and European civilization.The Chinese have been, are and will be for peace-loving development, but they are among the most skilled dealers in the world. Of course, they are interested in road, rail and port investments that will reduce the cost of transporting Chinese goods to Europe and vice versa. Asia has become a region whose economic influence has the potential to become a determining factor for Europe's position in the past. I would point out that the old silk road that started 2000 years ago and lasted for the industrial revolution in Europe and colonization had many features that could define it as the predecessor of the present globalization".
Dr. Fatih Saracoglu, Secretary General of the Marmara Group Foundation, Istanbul:
„If in ancient times Turkey had an important role with his roads and caravanserais which are used in the first „Silk Road”, now the country may have another great role in the new project. Today caravanserais will be ports, airports, railroads and roads which will link Asia with Europe. Today Turkey makes efforts in this way. The bridges over the Bosporus were modernizes, Istanbul have the biggest airport in the world. The road Baku-Tbilisi is also a big project. Turkey invests in the development of the „New Silk Road”. We need understanding between neighbours, tolerance and dialogue. Only in this way we will make the project of „New Silk Road” functional.”
Dr. Doru Costea, former ambassador of Romania to the UN, Kuwait, Egypt and China:
„The New Silk Road, also known as „Belt and Road Initiative”would be built by an orchestrawhich sounds in harmony. The actors of this initiative will create, if possible, an orchestra without a conductor. It is not the only situation like this, in which case any power will not take the principal role, but it is perfect harmony. There will be five dimensions where the participant states must cooperate: policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and culture, here including also the communication between people.”
Radu Onofrei, former ambassador of Romania to the United Kingdom, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey:
„The Chinese initiative of the „New Silk Road” must pay attention to the situation which exists in Levant and Middle East. After the end of the Cold War and The Arab Spring some issues became very hot: civil wars in Syria and Yemen, political instability in Lebanon, the difficultiesof peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, the religious fights, the political situation in Egypt, the Kurdish issue and so on. There are many dares to take into account.”