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Cablegate: Basescu in Baghdad: Romanian Troops Staying in Iraq,

VZCZCXRO6963
PP RUEHAST
DE RUEHBM #1258 2221541
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101541Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4944
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BUCHAREST 001258

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - William Silkworth

E.O. 12958, AS AMENDED: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS MARR IZ RO

SUBJECT: BASESCU IN BAGHDAD: ROMANIAN TROOPS STAYING IN IRAQ,
COMPANIES HOPE TO COME

1. (SBU) Summary. President Traian Basescu made an August 9 trip to
Iraq to emphasize Romania's commitment to stay in Iraq until the
Iraqis ask them to leave. His meetings with Iraqi officials also
focused on getting Romanian companies reconstruction contracts, both
to further support Iraq and to undermine one of PM Tariceanu's
arguments against Romania's continued troop deployment. End
summary.

2. (SBU) President Traian Basescu paid a short visit to Iraq on
August 9 to hold talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, members
of the Iraqi government, and the chief of the Multinational
Coalition Forces, U.S. General George Casey. Basescu also met
Romanian troops operating in Iraq and located in Talil, at Camp
Mitica.

3. (SBU) In a joint declaration after the meeting with the Iraqi
president, Basescu reaffirmed Romania's continued strong engagement
in Iraq. Basescu said Romania wants to provide "political,
economic, and military" support to Iraq and therefore "will pull out
its troops when the Iraqi government makes a request in this regard
and in agreement with the allies." The Iraqi president expressed
hope that Romania would continue to be a reliable bilateral and
multilateral partner until Iraqi authorities would be able to fully
assume responsibilities in maintain order and provide stability and
security.

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4. (SBU) The two presidents also declared their determination to
"intensify" the bilateral political dialogues through periodical
meetings between members of the two countries' governments and
parliaments. In the same context, President Basescu and President
Talabani analyzed the potential involvement of Romanian companies in
the reconstruction of Iraq. This issue was also addressed in the
discussions with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and other
members of the Iraqi government. Iraqi ministers said they would
welcome Romania's participation in development projects related to
agriculture, road and rail transportation, heating systems, oil
refining, and armaments production.

5. (SBU) The local press made much of Basescu's inspection of
Romanian equipment after a U.S. newspaper referenced American
soldiers' bets on which day Romanian Aro vehicles would break down.
The local press also commented on Basescu's interruption of FM
Ungureanu's Austrian vacation to take him on this visit to Iraq and
Afghanistan, since Basescu is currently at odds with Defense
Minister Atanasiu due to the latter's sudden proposal to withdraw
from Iraq.

6. (SBU) Comment: President Basescu is keen to repudiate calls by
his Prime Minister (and political rival) Tariceanu for the early
withdrawal of Romanian forces from Iraq. In addition, Romania is
keen to get an economic return from its military investment in Iraq.
Basescu likely focused on this theme due to private comments from
Tariceanu's camp that Romania has not gained any economic benefits
from its involvement in Iraq.

7. (U) Amembassy Bucharest's reporting telegrams are available on
the Bucharest SIPRNET Website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest.

TAPLIN

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