Romanian president in favor of Danube crossing

NEGOTIN -- Romanian President Traian Basescu on Wednesday met with local officials and ethnic Romanians in the eastern Serbian town of Negotin.

Traian Basescu (Beta)
Traian Basescu (Beta)

He promised to advocate for the opening of the Đerdap II border crossing in the near future.

Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Jovan Krkobabić accompanied the Romanian president to the border crossing, whose opening was ordered by the government in 2006, but which remains closed.

Negotin Mayor Vlajko Đorđević, who was in the meeting with the Romanian president, told Tanjug that the opening was stalled by problems on both sides of the border, some of which were connected to Romania joining the Schengen Area.

"Basescu told us the situation is much clearer now and he will be able to advocate the opening of the crossing, and he also promised to visit the Negotin region again soon to attend the opening ceremony," Đorđević told Tanjug.

The position of the Romanian national minority was also a topic at the meeting, he added, with Basescu pointing out he did not come "to convince people to be Romanians", but to help those who identify as Romanian to preserve their language and tradition.

After the meeting with local officials, Basescu - who started his visit on Tuesday in Belgrade with meetings with the country's top officials - addressed the Romanian national minority at a cinema in Negotin, visited the Romanian Orthodox church in Malajnica and then left for Romania across the Đerdap II crossing.