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Cablegate: Basescu's Annual Address to the Diplomatic Corps:

VZCZCXRO1482
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBM #0068 0251732
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251732Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7818
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0359
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU 1299
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA 0095
RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0051
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 0662
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0203
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB

UNCLAS BUCHAREST 000068

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/NCE AARON JENSEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV RO
SUBJECT: BASESCU'S ANNUAL ADDRESS TO THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS:
ROMANIA AS "A CREDIBLE PARTNER"

1. (U) Summary: President Basescu made his annual New Year's
foreign policy address to Bucharest,s diplomatic corps on
January 23. He confirmed that Romania would fulfill its
international commitments, including its military deployments
in Iraq and Afghanistan, and would work within the EU and
NATO to address regional issues like energy security, the
Balkans, and Moldova. The President made it clear that
Romania intends to continue emphasizing as a policy priority
the promotion of stability and prosperity in the Black Sea
region. End Summary.

2. (U) In his annual January address to the diplomatic
corps, Basescu highlighted Romania,s coming of age as a
member of the EU and NATO.. He pointed out that Romania was
no longer a consumer of international aid and was ready to
assume a stronger leadership role in the region. Using an
upbeat tone, he emphasized that Romania is prepared to live
up to its membership obligations in the EU and NATO, stating
that his country "remains a dependable member of the
international community, concerned with the problems of the
community and their resolutions." Basescu only alluded in
passing to Romania,s post-EU accession "trials" (read:
incomplete reforms) and general growing pains.

3. (U) Basescu urged that 2008 be the year for Europe,s
emergence as "a genuine global actor which wants and has the
capacity to influence the process of globalization in favor
of its citizens. He noted that the EU agenda was also
Romania's and pledged that Romania would be among the first
to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon. Basescu advocated a common
effort to repair transatlantic relations and leave "certain
tensions" in the past. He reaffirmed the centrality of the
US in Romania,s foreign policy outlook, and stated that he
hoped to deepen the relationship this coming year.

4. (U) Basescu said Romania would support NATO membership
for Croatia, Macedonia, and Albania at the Summit in April.
Basescu reiterated Romania's strong support for Georgia,s
bid to join NATO, and added that Ukraine,sapplication for
the Atlantic Alliance "should be considered." On Kosovo, he
argued that the only sustainable solution would involve
continued negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina and the
consensual agreement of the UN Security Council. However, to
assist with peacekeeping efforts, Basescu reported that
Romania,s Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT) had
recently approved the deployment of an additional 175
policemen and gendarmes to participate in an EU mission in
Kosovo. Basescu also remarked that the Black Sea Forum had
not yet reached its full potential, and that the region,s
geostrategic importance to energy security, including the
Nabucco gas pipeline and a proposed Constanta-Trieste oil
pipeline, necessitated closer cooperation.

5. (U) On Moldova, Basescu urged the EU to consider
Moldova,s membership application in the same light as the
Western Balkan countries, and stated that in view of its
strong cultural and historical ties to Moldova, Romania would
assist in the process. Basescu also appealed for Moldova to
"fully benefit from the from the advantages of being the EU's
direct neighbor, including from the point of view of the
mobility of its citizens, who would benefit and who would
directly contribute to consolidate the democratic orientation
of the neighboring state." Basescu volunteered to support
Moldova in securing the integrity of its borders, with
specific reference to the Transnistrian conflict.

6. (SBU) Comment: With the NATO summit quickly
approaching, the speech,s emphasis on regional leadership
and international cooperation was not surprising. Despite
his boast that Romania is coming into its own in foreign
policy terms, Basescu carefully steered clear of specific
comments on Romania,s contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan
and spoke of non-European issues only in the vaguest terms.
End Comment.
TAUBMAN

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