MOSCOW, October 4 (RIA Novosti)
Moscow expressed regret on Thursday over Romanian attempts to raise in the Council of Europe the issue of the restitution of 93 tons of gold evacuated to Russia during World War I, and called on Bucharest not to "stir up the past," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
"Romanian parliamentarians have more than once tried to internationalize this issue, which long ago lost its urgency," he said.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is currently discussing a major review of its monitoring of Russia. An amendment has been added to the document containing demands for the "return of Romania's treasure temporarily evacuated to Moscow during the course of the First World War." PACE believes "such a return could start with the return of the National Bank of Romania's gold reserves consisting of 93.4 tons of gold in coin and ingots," a full list of which was presented in 2004 by Romania to Russia.
"We regret that such an authoratitive body as the Council of Europe is acting as a platform for such ideas and aims" he said.
The subject of Romanian gold is not currently a matter of political dialog between Moscow and Bucharest, he said, and should be consigned to history.
"We consider attempts to dig up the past in today's conditions counterproductive and foster undesirable emotions, deflecting attention away from the resolution of contemporary issues of bilateral cooperation" he said.
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