President Traian Basescu in Washington, D.C.

Romania is a strong US and NATO partner, US President George W. Bush said
Wednesday (9 March) after talks at the White House with Romanian counterpart
Traian Basescu.

“I am impressed by your leadership. I am grateful for your friendship.
Romania has been a steadfast ally of freedom,” Bush said, with Basescu by
his side. He hailed Romanian authorities and Basescu personally for their
determination to fight corruption, noting the importance of this issue in
boosting US investments in the Balkan country.

“I told the president I’m most impressed by his campaign to rid the
government of corruption in Romania — a steadfast, strong commitment,” the
US president said. “He believes in transparency and rule of law, and that is
very important for American companies looking for a place to invest.”

The purpose of Basescu’s three-day official visit to Washington, his first
since becoming president in December, was to discuss ways of strengthening
political, military and economic co-operation. He was leading a delegation
that included foreign and defense ministers Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu and
Teodor Atanasiu, National Bank of Romania Governor Mugur Isarescu, and other
advisers and officials.

“I am happy to pass our message regarding democracy, regarding freedom,
regarding development of our strategic partnership,” Basescu said. He also
reportedly urged an easing of the US visa regime for Romanian citizens.

His meeting with Bush was attended by US Vice President Richard Cheney,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen
Hadley and other officials. Issues discussed included security in the Black
Sea region, the situation in Romania’s western neighbour, Moldova, and the
Middle East.

On Thursday March 10, in the morning, between 10:30 and 11:30, President
Basescu paid an unprecedented homage by a Romanian official, to the victims
of the Holocaust. The President and his wife lighted a candle to the memory
of the victims and visited the main areas of the Museum of the Holocaust in
Washington, D.C., including the Romanian section.