05BUCHAREST1173 / 2005-05-20 13:20:00
Embassy Bucharest
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 001173 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2015 
TAGS: CASC, PREL, OVIP, RO, adoption, Repatriation 
1.  (C) In meetings May 10 and 11 with President Basescu, 
Foreign Minister Ungureanu and other officials of the 
Government of Romania (GOR), Assistant Secretary Maura Harty 
found no evidence that the GOR had specific plans or strong 
commitment to resolve pending cases of international adoption 
affected by the law in place since January 1 banning 
adoptions out of Romania.  She informed her interlocutors she 
would have to share that impression with American families 
whose petitions to adopt Romanian children were affected by 
the ban.  She reiterated to FM Ungureanu the message given by 
the Secretary during his meeting with her in Washington, that 
establishing a road map towards eventual inclusion of Romania 
in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) would depend on 
progress towards resolving the pending cases. 
2.  (C) (Summary, cont,d.) After his meeting with A/S 
Harty, President Basescu appeared to have changed his mind 
and decided to take positive action on the issue.  On May 12, 
he informed Charge d,Affaires that he had discussed the 
adoption issue with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn 
on May 11; would instruct FM Ungureanu to write the EC 
expressing the desirability of putting in motion a process to 
resolve the cases; and that Romania would take the initiative 
to convince the Germans, Italians, French and others to wield 
their influence and urge the EC to view resolution of the 
cases favorably. 
End summary. 
3.  (C) Action Request:  Per internal discussions during A/S 
Harty,s visit, post requests Department consideration of a 
letter from the Secretary to the European Commission urging 
the EC support humanitarian resolution of pending 
international adoption cases from Romania.  End request. 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
4.  (C)  A/S Harty opened her May 10 meeting with President 
Traian Basescu by expressing support for Romania as it seeks 
release of Romanian journalists being held hostage in Iraq. 
She thanked Basescu for his commitments made in Washington on 
March 9 and 10, to President Bush and to American families 
who have petitioned to adopt Romanian children, to explore 
resolution of pending cases of international adoption legally 
registered before the GOR instituted Law 272/2004 banning 
such adoptions on January 1, 2005.  She noted the families 
and the Department had respected Basescu,s request not to 
discuss the issue publicly until after Romania,s April 25 
signing of its treaty of accession to the European Union. 
She regretted that, since that date, the Government of 
Romania (GOR) appeared to have taken no action towards 
finding a solution for the cases.  She urged that the GOR 
expeditiously determine which of the children might no longer 
be eligible for adoption, so the families waiting for them 
would not keep up their hopes in vain.  She acknowledged 
there are those who oppose permitting adoptions out of 
Romania, but noted that the European Parliament and the EU 
Rapporteur for Romania had publicly condoned adoptions in 
certain cases. 
5.  (C) Basescu said he did recall his conversations in 
Washington, but that raising this subject in Brussels with 
the EU was like &starting the clock on a bomb.8  Romania 
currently has huge problems with the EU. The GOR needs to 
settle this issue for France and Germany as well, and hopes 
in the coming months to find some opportunity to advance a 
special law regarding children pending adoption.  Some of 
those children already are in the U.S. without completed 
adoptions.  He hoped people in Brussels would understand the 
situation in Romania more clearly in the coming months, so 
there could be discussions of the pending cases.  He stated 
he had not abandoned the issue and wanted to clear up this 
problem in Romania,s relations, including with France and 
Germany.  Now is an &uncertain period8 due to politicians 
in Germany campaigning for office who try to appear tough on 
countries seeking to join the EU. 
6.  (C) Basescu reported that on May 11 he would be meeting 
EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, visiting from 
Brussels, and would discuss the 256 children being sought for 
adoption to various countries, including Israel. 
7.  (C) A/S Harty explained that Basescu,s comments in 
Washington had given the families hope for action after April 
25, and asked whether there were a new reference date or 
&road map8 she could share with them.  Basescu said there 
was not, but that if he failed on this issue he would fly to 
the U.S. to tell the families himself. 
8.  (C) Asked whether there were support within the European 
Commission to resolve these cases, Basescu responded that now 
was a &very inappropriate moment8 to discuss the issue, 
even with the European Parliament.  The &right way8 to 
proceed would be to talk to the EC. Basescu confirmed that 
the &backbone of the problem8 was the shadow Rapporteur for 
Romania,s EU accession, Baroness Emma Nicholson.  (Note: 
Nicholson is a British member of the European Parliament, 
former Rapporteur for Romania and fierce foe of inter-country 
adoption out of Romania.  End note.)  Basescu said he agreed 
with Nicholson in principle, but that the pending cases 
required solution. 
9.  (C) A/S Harty pressed again for a timeline on the issue, 
but Basescu replied he would have to first &test the 
atmosphere8 and might have some idea after his May 12 
meeting with Rehn . 
10.  (C) Basescu stated the issue of the pending adoptions 
was a &closed subject8 and that he would discuss it with 
Rehn.  When A/S Harty responded that she certainly hoped the 
subject was not closed, Basescu responded emphatically &it 
is closed.  I have my obligation to the families.  Look at 
the realities ) we have huge problems in Brussels.  Do not 
focus on small issues(focus on our big problems.8  He said 
that, now the EU accession treaty was signed, he would begin 
discussion of the issue, starting with Rehn.  Meanwhile, he 
had 22 million Romanians and Brussels to worry about. 
11.  (U) A/S Harty made clear the USG did not regard the 
issue as small.  She assured Basescu the American families 
seeking to adopt the children would be relentless in pressing 
for resolution.  She offered USG assistance in intervening 
with the EU, France or Germany.  Basescu responded that such 
approaches in the past had been tried but were a disaster, 
due to interventions by &our friend(,dear, Emma8 
Nicholson.  He said it was &ridiculous8 to block the 
pending cases but no one was prepared to create a 
confrontation within the EC.  He speculated that Nicholson 
might become less aggressive on the issue now it was clear 
her party had lost in the recent elections in the UK.  He 
said Nicholson was key to the issue and had mobilized 
uninformed European parliamentarians, creating unfair 
pressure against the children being sought for adoption, for 
the sake of a &political game(without principle.8 
12.  (C) Basescu closed the discussion by saying &we will do 
everything we can.  It is no longer a political problem for 
me, but a personal one.8 
13.  (U) A/S Harty commended Basescu for his public acts and 
words acknowledging Romania,s role in the Holocaust, and 
urged that Romania accept repatriation of several Romanian 
national former Nazis subject to deportation from the U.S. 
Basescu claimed not to have known this issue would be on the 
agenda and was not prepared to discuss it.  (Note: Embassy 
had alerted MFA in advance that A/S Harty would raise the 
issue.  End note.) 
14.  (U) A/S Harty was joined in this meeting by Angela 
Aggeler, Spokesperson for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, 
Charge d'Affaires Thomas Delare, and Consul General Bryan 
Dalton (notetaker).  Basescu was joined by Foreign Ministry 
Director General for Global Affairs Stelian Stoian and 
Director General for Consular Affairs Cristian Gaginsky, 
Presidential Counselor Elena Udrea and State Counselor Anca 
15.  (C) A/S Harty told Ungureanu she was at loss as what to 
tell families with regards to Romania,s closed adoption 
policy, saying &Hope is not a policy.8  Families cannot 
wait an indeterminate amount of time and a preparatory step 
needs to be made to deal with the 200 pending cases.   She 
sought a determination as to which children were not eligible 
for adoption so the Americans seeking to adopt them could 
move on with their lives.   She proposed that the cases 
pending when Law 272/2004 came into effect be 
&grandfathered8 and processed to conclusion under the law 
in effect when they were registered with the Romanian 
Adoption Committee. 
16.  (C) When FM Ungureanu raised the question of including 
Romania among countries on a &road map" towards eventual 
inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), A/S Harty 
reiterated the position that Secretary Rice had laid out in 
her meeting with Ungureanu in Washington the week before, 
that there would be no &traction8 on VWP unless there were 
&traction8 on adoptions. 
17.  (C) FM Ungureanu stated a general solution to all of the 
international adoption cases was needed, if not general, then 
on a case-by-case basis.  He has started to prepare a 
solution and needs the time to discuss it with the European 
Commission.  The road map needs to be taken to Brussels.  He 
wants to know how Brussels feels about this issue before 
Romania makes a final decision.  Ungureanu assured A/S Harty 
that they were on the same side of the issue, and that he was 
looking for a solution and would work with her in good faith. 
18.  (U) A/S Harty was joined in the meeting by CA 
Spokesperson Aggeler, CG Dalton and Vice Consul Ann Marie 
Everitt (notetaker.)  Ungureanu was joined by MFA Director 
General for Consular Affairs Cristian Gaginsky, Presidential 
Counselor Ileana Tinis and MFA Desk Officer Alina Stoicescu. 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
19.  (U) On May 11, A/S Harty called on State Counselor 
Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu,  Director of the Prime 
Minister,s Office, Theodora Bertzi, Secretary of State of 
the Romanian Office for Adoptions (ROA) and MFA Advisor Calin 
Fabian.  A/S Harty began the discussion by expressing her 
disappointment with her May 10 meeting with President 
Basescu.  That discussion led her to believe that the two 
sides are farther apart than she originally thought.  A/S 
Harty stated that the American families must know if there is 
a roadmap for resolving the pending cases so they can pursue 
the adoptions or move on with their lives.  She suggested the 
GOR could address the concerns of both the foreign families 
seeking to adopt and the EU by treating the pending cases 
under a different law but enforcing the current law for any 
new adoption cases.  In addition, A/S Harty asked if it would 
be useful for the U.S. to coordinate with other countries 
with pipeline cases.  Finally, she expressed the need for a 
thorough inventory of the pending cases. 
20.  (C) Constantinescu explained that although the GOR is 
committed to resolving the adoption issue, it was not a high 
priority for the new government during its first months in 
office.  Regarding the idea of two laws, one for the old 
cases and one for the new, Mr. Constantinescu asked whether 
the U.S. could support Romania if it made such an offer to 
the EU.  A/S Harty informed him that her deputy would be in 
Brussels soon and could assist the GOR.  Regarding USG 
coordination with other pipeline countries, Mr. 
Constantinescu replied that the GOR has not felt much 
pressure from the Europeans on this issue.  He advised that 
both the USG and GOR must &take the temperature8 of 
Brussels and the European capitals on the matter.  Mr. 
Constantinescu also agreed that there must be an up-to-date 
inventory and examination of the pending cases.  He pledged 
to raise A/S Harty,s concerns with Romanian Prime Minister 
Calin Popescu-Tariceanu. 
21.  (C) A/S Harty and Constantinescu concluded their meeting 
by agreeing on the importance of continued communication.  In 
closing, Mr. Constantinescu asked whether the roadmap towards 
inclusion of Romania in the Visa Waiver Program were a 
priority for the USG, saying  the GOR needed to know whether 
this issue remained on the bilateral agenda.  A/S Harty said 
discussions should continue but there could be no progress on 
the visa waiver program if there were no progress on 
22.  (U) A/S Harty was joined in the meeting by CA 
Spokesperson Aggeler, CG Dalton and Vice Consul Kevin Opstrup 
23.  (C) On May 12, Charge attended a meeting between Basescu 
and visiting Assistant Secretary of Commerce William Lash. 
Basescu abruptly interrupted his discussion, and, addressing 
the Charge, said he had discussed the adoption issue with EU 
Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn on May 11; would 
instruct FM Ungureanu to write the EC expressing the 
desirability of putting in motion a process to resolve the 
cases; and that Romania would take the initiative to convince 
the Germans, Italians, French and others to wield their 
influence and urge the EC to view resolution of the cases 
24.  (C) Post believes Basescu,s May 12 statements indicate 
he took to heart A/S Harty,s message and realized anew how 
seriously the USG takes resolution of the pending cases. His 
was the most forward-leaning commitment to action by the GOR 
leadership to date.  Post will follow up with his advisors, 
the Prime Minister,s office and the MFA in the coming days, 
and continue to discreetly explore with European embassy 
interlocutors possibilities for their engaging the EC and 
European Parliament to resolve pending adoptions.    End 

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