Basescu’s official US visit takes bilateral relationship into new stage

Newsroom 19/09/2011 | 11:01

The Romanian President, Traian Basescu, met last week with his US counterpart Barack Obama in the White House’s Oval Office. The high-level meeting lasted about 25 minutes and was part of a one-day meeting involving a Romanian delegation that flew to Washington in an effort to consolidate the traditional ties between the two countries.

Other local participants in this state visit included the heads of intelligence services SIE (Foreign Intelligence Service) and SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service), the national defense minister Gabriel Oprea and presidential counselor Iulian Fota, together with foreign affairs minister Teodor Baconschi and the US Ambassador in Romania Mark Gitenstein. During the work visit, each member of the delegation had talks with his American counterpart.

Teodor Baconschi and Hillary Clinton, heads of Romanian and US diplomacy, signed an agreement on the deployment of the US ballistic missile defense system in Romania.
The official document was finalized after eight bilateral meetings. It states that 26 ground rocket interceptors will be hosted in Deveselu Airbase, Olt County, with deployment expected to occur in 2015.

Basescu said at the end of the official visit that once put into practice, this agreement will see Romania achieve the highest level of security in its history.

Basescu also signed with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden a joint declaration on strategic partnership for the 21st century between the United States of America and Romania.
The areas where the US and Romania should strengthen their cooperation include the military, politics, security and the economy.

President Obama has endorsed legislation to reform the Visa Waiver Program, allowing Romanians to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa. According to the agreed partnership, Romania will have to enhance its counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States in order to qualify.
Other areas where contacts between the two nations should be facilitated include trade and investment, education, and science and technology.

The two countries will also collaborate in the energy sector, on the development of smart grids and alternative energy sources and transport routes such as the Southern Corridor, it was said during the official visit.

Romania will continue its efforts to liberalize its energy market to attract new investments and will also research unconventional sources of energy, including shale gas.
Chevron, an American energy company with extensive experience in shale gas projects, has already concessioned four blocks in Romania, covering 2.1 million acres, in Barlad and the Dobrogea region, which contain significant deposits of shale gas. Exploitation works in these areas may commence after prior agreement from the Romanian government is secured.

A foreign investment made by IBM, an American multinational technology and consulting firm, was also confirmed during talks between Baconschi and Clinton.
The company will create a new unit in Romania, expected to create 3,000 jobs.

Ovidiu Posirca

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