The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu had political consultations in Washington with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on which occasion he welcomed the United States’ intention to strengthen its military presence in Romania.
In turn, the American official appreciated the several decade-long partnership between the 2 states, recently illustrated by the intergovernmental agreement signed on October 9th for revamping and building a new reactor for the Cernavodă nuclear power plant in south-eastern Romania.
The 2 officials discussed ways to strengthen relations in the field of defence, to enhance energy security in Europe by means of Black Sea gas development, as well as the Three Seas Initiative’s potential to generate growth. They also tackled a stronger US involvement, including financial involvement, in projects targeting the interconnection of the north and south of the region, with both economic benefits and with a strategic impact on military mobility.
The Romanian diplomacy chief explained for Radio Romania that the projects will be implemented through the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund:
Bogdan Aurescu: “Sometime, most likely by the end of the year, the Investment Fund will make public the projects it has selected in the first series to be financed by the Fund. We have also discussed the importance of launching as soon as possible the development of the energy resources on the Black Sea continental shelf, with American involvement, because these are extremely necessary for ensuring the energy independence of Romania, the Republic of Moldova, as well as other states in the region”.
On the other hand, Bucharest and Washington will have a joint task force working for Romania’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver programme. Moreover, the European Parliament is to pass a resolution asking the European Commission to take measures with respect to the fact that Romanians need a visa to reach the US.
Bogdan Aurescu: “Talks are held on a regular basis, because the situation is monitored and there is a dialogue between the US and the EU as regards mobility, including the Visa Waiver. During my discussion here I emphasized the importance that Romanian citizens attach to this programme and to Romania being included in the Visa Waiver, the symbolic importance and the sensitivity on the part of the Romanian people with respect to this goal. Secretary Pompeo has understood very well the goals and arguments we have presented, which is why we have agreed to set up this task force, to see the steps that need to be taken in the forthcoming period so that we may accomplish this goal”.
Bogdan Aurescu also said that preparations are ongoing for the 7th session of the bilateral strategic dialogue, scheduled to take place in Washington in the first half of next year. (translated by: A. M. Popescu)