05BUCHAREST31 / 2005-01-06 16:08:00
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VZCZCBMI848 
OO RUEHC RUEKJCS RHEHNSC RUCNDT RUEHZL 
DE RUEHBM #0031/01 0061608 
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O 061608Z JAN 05 
FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0015 
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0044 
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 000031 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH 
STATE DEPT ALSO FOR INR/B 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, MOPS, MARR, MASS, ECON, PINR, MD, UP, IZ, RO, UNSC 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETINGS WITH FOREIGN MINISTER 
UNGUREANU AND DEFENSE MINISTER ATANASIU 
 
REF: A. STATE 187 (AND PREVIOUS) 
 
     B. 04 BUCHAREST 3551 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Jack Dyer Crouch II for Reasons 1.4 B and D 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The Ambassador January 3-4 made introductory 
calls on new Foreign Minister Razvan Ungureanu and new 
Defense Minister Teodor Atanasiu. Echoing a prominent theme 
in President Traian Basescu's electoral campaign, both 
incoming ministers expressed a firm commitment to a strong 
relationship with the U.S.  Ungureanu described the 
center-right governing coalition as "heterogeneous," but 
expected the current cabinet to remain for at least 18 
months.  Atanasiu said the GOR would need to examine whether 
to "increase or decrease" its overseas deployments, including 
in Iraq and Afghanistan.  On the specific issue of UN Force 
Protection in Iraq, Atanasiu stated that an infantry company 
is "ready" for deployment but that UN funds available for 
salary support are insufficient; he promised to provide soon 
detailed information about Romanian needs for salary support 
(Refs) End Summary. 
 
2.  (C) Following the December 28 parliamentary confirmation 
of Romania's new government, the Ambassador met January 3-4 
with Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu and Defense 
Minister Teodor Atanasiu.  Both ministers noted they were 
still becoming acclimated to their new positions.  Both also 
said that over the next two weeks they would be preoccupied 
with filling key slots at the sub-ministerial level to ensure 
the presence of "strong staffs" they felt confident would 
support the new government's direction. 
 
FM Ungureanu:  "Washington-London-Bucharest" 
-------------------------------------------- 
3. (C) FM Ungureanu emphasized to the Ambassador in his 
January 3 meeting that President Basescu and the new PNL-PD 
led government placed strong ties with Washington at the top 
of Romania's foreign policy priorities.  Ungureanu noted that 
while Basescu had spoken frequently of a 
"Washington-London-Bucharest axis" throughout the 
presidential campaign, the inclusion of "London" was intended 
primarily to present a balanced approach to the EU. 
Ungureanu said the U.S. would find in him, personally, a very 
frank and open interlocutor.  He expressed that his previous 
experience as a State Secretary at the MFA during the 
1996-2000 center-right government and his previous experience 
with the Stability Pact had prepared him well for his new 
job. 
 
Politics of the Coalition 
------------------------- 
4. (C) Ungureanu also provided insight on the political 
mechanics of the new government, characterizing the governing 
coalition as "heterogeneous" but assessing that the current 
cabinet would remain "untouched" for at least 18 months.  He 
boiled it down to the fact that few MPs want new elections. 
He similarly described what he called the new core foreign 
policy team -- himself, PM Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, and 
Presidential Counselor Andrei Plesu -- as a melting pot. 
"Plesu is German trained; Tariceanu is French trained; and I 
am British trained," but, he reiterated, one common 
denominator was their "commitment to strong relationship with 
U.S."   The Ambassador asked about the role of the three new 
Ministers of State, de facto Vice Premiers, in this 
government.  Ungureanu said that while each had been assigned 
broad portfolios and ostensibly would be responsible for sets 
of ministries, in reality their positions were largely for a 
political purpose:  to tie together the coalition.  The PM is 
from the National Liberal Party; and the Ministers of State 
come from the ethnic Hungarian (UDMR), Humanist (PUR), and 
Democratic (PD) parties.  All four would be able to carry the 
government's program back to the parliament and ensure 
support. 
 
5. (C) The Ambassador asked Ungureanu how he predicted the 
Social Democratic Party (PSD) would behave in opposition. 
Ungureanu agreed the PSD would likely be tough but he had 
"few doubts" there would be any major differences over 
foreign policy: "We both want good relations with the U.S. 
and EU accession in 2007."  He said that this was despite the 
fact that the government does not have a majority on either 
of the foreign affairs committees in the Parliament. 
Ungureanu said the PSD would likely pick its differences over 
social or economic policies, notably health care or aspects 
of economic liberalization. 
 
Moldova, Ukraine, Russia 
------------------------ 
6. (C) On politics in the region, Ungureanu opined that 
Moldova "could become a problem."  Romania would be watching 
March elections closely.  Ungureanu said President Basescu 
had spoken with Ukrainian President-elect Yushchenko and that 
he, himself, knows many in Yushchenko's inner-circle.  He 
expressed a "bit of worry" that possible PM Iulia Tymoshenko 
could make relations difficult -- leaders may continue to use 
issues with Romania like the Bystroe Canal and Snake Island 
to rouse nationalist sentiments.  The Ambassador stressed 
that Romania should seek to focus relations on cooperation. 
Ungureanu agreed, but qualifying that Romania could not 
"leave room" for unwarranted concessions.  He said the new 
Romanian government realizes the potential for Romania, on 
eastern edge of the EU and NATO, to play a role building 
possible bridges with Kiev and even Moscow.  However, with 
regard to Russia, Ungureanu said he was "personally" 
concerned about Russian intentions inside and outside its 
borders, asserting that "few in power there are truly 
interested in reform." 
 
7. (C) Ungureanu said Romania was eagerly awaiting a decision 
on possible U.S. military basing in Romania.  "An 
announcement could not come too soon."  He saw "absolutely no 
difference" on the positions of the previous government or 
the new one on "this fundamental issue." 
 
Defmin Atanasiu: A Strong Strategic Partnership 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
8. (C) Ambassador met with Defense Minister Teodor Atanasiu 
January 4 in his office at the Defense Ministry.  Speaking 
through an interpreter, Atanasiu began the meeting by 
observing that President Traian Basescu and PM Calin Popescu 
Tariceanu have both stressed the importance of "strengthening 
the U.S.-Romanian strategic partnership."  Atanasiu stated 
that the Romanian "military will play a key role" in this 
process, noting that "our intention and goal is to build an 
all-volunteer, professional armed forces by 2007." 
Ambassador expressed support for Romania's ongoing defense 
reform and stated that he and his team are working hard to 
assure that cooperation between the U.S. and Romania remains 
solid. 
 
9. (C) Atanasiu observed that Romania will "continue 
cooperation with the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and 
the Balkans."  He stated that discussions over the next 
several months should examine how Romania should proceed in 
regard to its overseas deployments.  Romania must decide 
whether to  "increase or decrease" its overseas deployments 
and also needs to explore which "partnership forums should be 
developed."  (Note: Mihaela Matei, the head of the MOD's 
Strategic Affairs Directorate, told DATT in an earlier 
meeting that press reports had misquoted Atanasiu and 
erroneously quoted him as stating that when the mandate 
of Romanian troops in Afghanistan and Iraq expires in Summer 
2005, he would prefer to send only specialized intelligence 
units (Ref B).  Matei explained that Atanasiu had meant to 
express that the GOR would explore with the U.S. the 
appropriate "mix" of forces deployed so that Romania's 
resources, including intelligence units, could be best 
employed.  End Note.) 
 
UN Force Protection in Iraq 
--------------------------- 
10. (C) On the subject of the Romanian offer of one infantry 
company for UN force protection in Iraq (Refs), Atanasiu 
observed that the company is "ready" but that the GOR does 
not have "budget allocations" for 2005 to sustain salary 
costs for the company during an overseas deployment. 
Further, UN funds for salary allocations "provide about half, 
or less" than Romanian law requires for salary support for 
overseas deployments of this nature.  He promised to provide 
an "exact calculus" soon of the funds GOR needs to cover 
salary costs.  Ambassador observed that it would be difficult 
for the UN to pay more for salary support for Romanian troops 
than for troops from other nations, also noting that U.S. law 
forbids payment of salaries to foreign troops.  (Note: Post 
will report Septel when it receives the MOD's "exact 
calculus."  End Note.) 
 
The Black Sea and regional security 
----------------------------------- 
11. (C) In general terms, Atanasiu observed that the Black 
Sea region and Caucasus region are of key strategic 
importance for both Romania and the U.S.  Ambassador stated 
that the U.S. shares the GOR's goal of enhancing Black Sea 
security, underscoring the importance of initially focusing 
on concrete projects rather than prematurely attempting to 
address grand regional themes.  Ambassador also stressed 
strong U.S. support for the development of democratic 
institutions in Ukraine and Moldova, observing that Romania - 
and NATO - can play a role in this process. 
 
12. (C) Atanasiu said he would like to meet again with the 
Ambassador in early February, stating also that he hopes to 
visit the U.S. in the latter half of 2005 "once he has 
learned his brief."  Ambassador stated that when the visit 
dates have been set he would help arrange meetings with 
Secretary Rumsfeld and other appropriate interlocutors. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
13.  (C) Comment:  Both ministers were stark contrasts to 
their predecessors.  The straight-speaking and understated 
Ungureanu differed remarkably from former FM Geoana.  In 
contrast to ebullient ex-DefMin Pascu, who conducted his 
meetings with Embassy interlocutors in fluent, idiomatic 
English and encouraged a "give and take" exchange of 
information, Atanasiu proceeded cautiously and spoke through 
a translator (although his curriculum vitae describes him as 
an English speaker).  Atanasiu's approach may reflect the 
fact that he is still getting his sea legs: Although Atanasiu 
has been a longstanding leader of the National Liberal Party 
(PNL) in Transylvania, he possesses scant prior experience in 
central government and only limited background in the defense 
sector, having managed an arms factory for several years. 
End Comment. 
 
14. (U) Amembassy Bucharest,s reporting telegrams are 
available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest 
CROUCH 

            
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