After more than two years and a half in which the US diplomatic mission in Bucharest was led by interim officials, the US Senate has approved the nomination of Hans Klemm for the position of ambassador to Romania.
The US Senate on Thursday confirmed Hans Klemm for the position of US ambassador to Romania, after more than two years and a half when its diplomatic mission was led by interim officials. The previous US ambassador to Romania was Mark Gitenstein whose mandate came to an end in December 2012.
Since then the Romanian press has reproached Washington for having delayed the appointment of an ambassador to a country with which it runs a strategic partnership and boasts strong military connections in a difficult regional context caused by the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine. Hans Klemm, 57, was the US ambassador in East Timor and senior coordinator for rule of law and law enforcement at the American embassy in Kabul.
Two weeks ago, in the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Klemm said Romania is a friend and a strategic partner of the USA. According to Hans Klemm, Romania has a huge potential, being one of the countries with the fastest development rates in the EU. It has a small debt, viable taxation and an educated population. However there are two impediments, one being corruption. Romania still faces serious problems in this respect, being at the bottom of an EU ranking. The other problem mentioned was infrastructure.
The new US ambassador pledged to support the Romanian institutions in fighting corruption. Furthermore, Hans Klemm said that Romania was not vulnerable to Russian propaganda, Bucharest having a firm position alongside the USA to respond the Russian aggression in the region. If confirmed in his position, Klemm also pledged to consolidate Romania’s role inside NATO and the bilateral partnership.
The US diplomat has also spoken about Romania’s significant contributions to the peacekeeping operations at international level, recollecting that Romania is among the first ten countries, which have contributed with troops in Afghanistan, and that it hosts a military base that serves the anti-missile system. Romania is also a regional center for logistics equipment and it hosts hundreds of US Army and Navy members, ambassador Klemm added.
Romania has a key role in ensuring prosperity in southeastern Europe, the American diplomat went on to say, encouraging Bucharest to invest in energy infrastructure. Klemm pledged to cooperate with political leaders in Romania and businesspeople from the two countries to promote investment, including in the negotiations on the Transatlantic Partnership Agreement.