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Moscow says it is historians’ job to search for Romania’s gold reserve in Russia

December 16, 2016, 19:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

During World War I, when Romania faced the risk of being occupied by the armies of the Triple Alliance, Bucharest decided to dispatch the country’s main valuables to the Russian Empire

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MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. The problem of Romania’s gold reserve has a significant historical side to it and it is up to a bilateral panel of historians first and foremost to look into this matter, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS in the wake of a statement by the head of Romania’s National Bank Moscow has not yet returned to Bucharest the gold reserve that had been dispatched to the Russian Empire for safekeeping back 100 years ago.

During World War I, when Romania faced the risk of being occupied by the armies of the Triple Alliance, the authorities in Bucharest decided to dispatch the country’s main valuables to the Russian Empire, an ally of the Kingdom of Romania at that time, the governor of Romania’s National Bank Mugur Isarescu said on Wednesday.

"The handover of the Romanian gold reserve is confirmed by authentic documents, signed by both parties [by the Romanian and Russian governments] but it has not been returned yet, even 100 years on," he said. According to the NBR archive the treasures that were sent to Moscow in 1916 consisted of 1,738 boxes containing gold coins and bars, as well as caskets with the jewelry of Queen Marie, of Romania. Another 188 boxes followed in 1917. Isarescu said some of the valuables were returned to Romania in 1935 and 1956, but there was not a single gram of gold.

Under the Russian-Romanian agreements all historical problems, including the Romanian gold reserve issue, were left beyond the scope of the political treaty on friendly relations and cooperation Russia and Romania signed in July 2003, the Russian Foreign Ministry recalled. Simultaneously, a joint non-governmental commission of historians was formed to conduct comprehensive research into Russian-Romanian relations, including the issue of the missing gold reserve. The commission began its activities in October 2004. The director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of General History Aleksandr Chubaryan and member of the Romanian Academy of Sciences Ioan Aurel Pop are the commission’s co-chairs.

"The commission has met in full-scale sessions several times since then alternately in Moscow and Bucharest," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "The last one was in the Romanian resort town of Sinaia. The partners agreed to step up work, including the creation of joint groups of experts to study the related documents retrieved from the archives."

The intermediate results of this time-and effort-consuming work will be summarized when the commission gathers for a full-scale meeting again in Moscow in the second half of 2017.

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