05BUCHAREST1529 / 2005-07-11 14:17:00
Embassy Bucharest
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 001529 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/11/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, KDEM, SOCI, RO, Election, adoption, military cooperation 
     B. B) BUCHAREST 1511 
     C. C) BUCHAREST 1433 
1. (C) Summary:  President Traian Basescu told Charge July 11 
that snap elections are not a given, as there is a chance he 
will mediate a solution to avoid an early return to the 
polls.  He acknowledged that earlier he had expressed support 
for new elections and that his Liberal-Democratic (PNL-PD) 
Alliance would likely do well.  However, he questioned the 
wisdom of the cabinet's July 7 resignation just months before 
an important EU report on Romania.  Basescu reaffirmed the 
central importance of Romania's strategic relationship with 
the U.S., seeing no incompatibility with Romania's EU 
aspirations.  On international adoptions, Basescu expressed 
hope that Romania could find a unilateral solution that would 
not cause problems with the EU.  End Summary. 
2. (C) Incoming Charge d'Affaires Mark Taplin paid an 
introductory call July 11 on President Traian Basescu. 
Reiterating the importance of a frank and open dialogue with 
the U.S., Basescu focused on projected early elections, 
strategic ties to the U.S., and pending international 
adoptions.  Following the meeting, Charge also met as a group 
with Presidential Advisors Renate Weber, Claudiu Saftoiu, 
Teodor Stolojan, and Adriana Saftoiu; and State Counselors 
Constantin Degeratu and Anca Ilinoiu. PolChief also 
participated in the meetings. 
Elections?  Maybe not.... 
3. (C) In response to Charge's question about early 
elections, Basescu said that he was "honestly caught by 
surprise" by the announced resignation of Prime Minister 
Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and his government with the goal of 
holding early elections.  He acknowledged that he himself had 
sought elections throughout the spring.  However, he said 
that only a week before the announcement of Tariceanu's 
resignation, he had expressed publicly his view that it was 
"too late" given that the EU will be releasing a key report 
in September on Romania's progress towards implementing EU 
requirements.  He said because of his doubts on the wisdom of 
elections at this time, he had made no public statement yet. 
He said he had met with the PM early after the decision by 
the cabinet.  During that meeting he acknowledged his earlier 
support for elections, but said he had doubts the governing 
Liberal-Democratic (PNL-PD) alliance could reliably secure 
the necessary majority in the parliament to force new 
elections.  At the same time, he acknowledged that in the 
event of early elections, the PNL-PD would "clearly improve" 
its representation in the Parliament, where the government's 
majority remains narrow. 
4. (C) Basescu added that he had engaged that very morning in 
a dialogue with the Constitutional Court to determine if it 
could revise its decision (on the judicial reform package) 
that sparked the cabinet's resignation.  He said he was 
obligated to "try to find a solution" regardless of whether 
the European Union was reconciled to early elections.  He 
added that if he could get an acceptable agreement from the 
Constitutional Court, he might encourage the cabinet to stay 
in place.  He labeled "speculation by some journalists" that 
he was behind the cabinet resignation "completely false." 
5. (C) Note:  In a subsequent conversation with key 
presidential advisors, Pol Chief asked again whether or not 
there would be elections.  The initial response was an 
incredulous "of course!", particularly from Advisor for 
Judicial Issues Renate Weber.  Mid-way through Weber's 
response, however, Foreign Affairs advisor Anca Ilenoiu 
whispered within our earshot that Basescu had just told 
Charge the outcome remains unclear.  At that point, Weber and 
others fell silent, stating simply that only President 
Basescu knew the real odds of an early poll.  End Note. 
The Security Relationship 
6. (C) Basescu reiterated that one of the primary objectives 
of his presidency is to strengthen Romania's relationship 
with the U.S.  He viewed this relationship not only as 
important for national security but also as a reflection of 
our two countries' "honest partnership" in Afghanistan and 
Iraq.  He underscored that Romania sought to be not simply a 
"consumer" but also a "provider" of security.  He expressed 
appreciation for the substantial military assistance the U.S. 
had provided over the years and emphasized that Romania was 
committed to transforming its military in the near future. 
Basescu said a Black Sea security strategy involving 
Romania's partners remains a central focus for his 
government.  Romania would "never accept" having to choose 
between the U.S. and Europe, and Basescu noted that he had 
worked to convince EU member states that strong transatlantic 
ties were not incompatible with EU membership.  Europe 
"cannot provide for its own security" and that "even a united 
EU" cannot stand up to future competition with China and 
7. (C) Charge underscored the importance with which the U.S. 
views the security relationship with Romania.  He noted that 
Ambassador Richard Jones would be leading a team to Bucharest 
on July 21 for a frank dialogue with Romania on the Coalition 
in Iraq and requested that Basescu meet with the team. 
Basescu responded positively.  Charge also acknowledged the 
request from Romania over the weekend for access to detained 
Romanian-American dual national Munaf Mohammad for an 
interview in the Romanian Embassy in Baghdad.  Charge said 
the U.S. did not yet have a response, but remained committed 
to work with Romania as constructively as possible on this 
sensitive issue. 
8. (C) After Charge asked for Basescu's support in positively 
resolving adoptions issue, Basescu noted that two weeks ago 
he had raised again with EU Enlargement Commissioner Ollie 
Rehn the issue of resolving pending international adoptions. 
He said he had also discussed the issue with EU Parliament 
"Shadow Rapporteur for Romania" Baroness Nicholson, President 
Chirac, Chancellor Schroeder, and President Zapatero.  He 
underscored that the U.S. was not alone on the issue -- 
France, Germany, Spain, and Israel had also come under 
domestic pressure to resolve international adoption cases 
registered before Romania implemented its de facto ban on 
international adoptions.  He noted that Romania had recently 
developed a plan for reviewing pending adoptions, to include 
the organization of a special working group on the issue.  At 
the same time he expressed hope that Romania could do 
"something unilateral" that would "not cause trouble" with 
the next EU report on Romania in September.  He also talked 
about the need to communicate with prospective families about 
the steps Romania is taking to resolve the issue.  He 
lamented that the entire problem had been caused by the 
previous government, which oversaw the "massive export of 
children."  This led to a strong response from the EU, which 
forced the inclusion of the de facto ban in Romania's 
adoption law. 
9. (C) Comment:  The fact that Basescu's closest advisors 
were out of sync with his latest views on elections 
demonstrates again his strong tendency to make key decisions 
alone.  Basescu may be concerned that the PNL-PD will not 
succeed in obtaining a clear parliamentary majority required 
to force new elections as required by the constitution 
(refs).  He may also be seeking to deflect criticism for 
producing potential political instability or jeopardizing 
Romania's EU accession in January 2007.  His comments on 
security underscore his unflagging support for operations in 
Iraq and Afghanistan and a committment to a close partnership 
with the U.S.  His statements on adoption offer some hope 
that he may seek a unilateral solution to the problem, 
although his advisors in our subsequent discussion lamented 
the fact the issue had been raised to the "political level" 
rather then handled as a "technical matter."  In coming days, 
we will follow up with key GOR interlocutors on this 
sensitive issue.  End Comment. 
10. (U)  Amembassy Bucharest,s reporting telegrams are 
available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website: 

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