Cablegate: Romania: 2006 Country Terrorism Report


DE RUEHBM #1874/01 3521309
R 181309Z DEC 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 175925

1. This report provides Embassy Bucharest,s submission for
the 2006 Country Reports on Terrorism.

2. Summary: Romania continued to be a staunch ally in the
global war against terrorism, providing a full range of
political, diplomatic, and military support for U.S. goals to
combat international terrorism, while simultaneously
improving its own national capacity. The Romanian
government,s commitment to combat terrorism ranged from the
deployment of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, to
strengthening its counter terrorism doctrine and laws, and
making counter-terrorism a fundamental component of its
National Security Strategy. Romania hosted and participated
in a wide range of regional and international initiatives to
address terrorism and terrorism-related issues including
terrorist financing. End Summary.

3. The government of Romania remains a staunch ally of the
United States in the global war against terrorism, providing
a full range of strategic and tactical support. In 2006,
about 1,500 Romanian troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan as
part of coalition and NATO efforts to combat terrorism and to
deny terrorists operational and political opportunities.
President Basescu in 2006 reaffirmed his commitment to keep
Romanian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for as long as they
are needed. Romania made available its airspace, ground
infrastructure, and naval facilities to support U.S. and NATO
forces engaged in the global war against terrorism. The
Romanian frigate "Regina Maria" deployed from September to
November 2006, with NATO counter-terrorism forces in the
Mediterranean Sea as part of Operation Active Endeavor.

4. The government of Romania strengthened its national
policies as part of a strategic approach to combat terrorism.
Romania included proactive language on counter-terrorism in
its National Security Strategy, in its National
Anti-Terrorism Strategy, and in guidelines for preventing and
combating terrorist financing activities. Romania has
ratified all UN counter-terrorism conventions, and is
promoting other international and regional counter-terrorist
initiatives and activities. Romania continued to promote the
Bucharest-based South East Europe Cooperation Initiative
(SECI), a regional center that provides law enforcement
training and intelligence sharing to prevent trans-border
criminal activities, including terrorist-related activities
for the 12 member countries in South Eastern and Central

5. In April 2006, Romania hosted the first meeting of
counter-terrorism chiefs within the framework of the Regional
Conference of Interior Ministers under the Brdo Process (the
Brdo process is a regional initiative involving Interior
Ministries from Central and Southern European states). In
October 2005, the Government of Romania released a list of
over 250 individuals and legal entities suspected of
committing or financing terrorist acts. The 21 official
agencies that form Romania,s National System to Prevent and
Combat Terrorism routinely update this list based on
information from the UN Security Council. The list is
compiled by the Ministry of Public Finance, which is
responsible for monitoring and blocking the movement of
terrorist funds.

6. The following chronicle highlights Romania,s
counter-terrorist activities in 2005-2006.

7. Since 2000, Romania's National Office for Preventing and
Combating Money Laundering has concluded 33 bilateral
cooperation agreements. In 2005, bilateral agreements were
reached with Albania, Georgia, Colombia, Monaco, Portugal,
Argentina, Estonia, Egypt, Republic of Moldova, Guatemala,
Chile, and Latvia. In 2006, bilateral agreements were
reached with Cyprus, Liechtenstein, and Luxemburg. Also in
2005, Romania's Financial Intelligence Unit exchanged data
with counterparts in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Switzerland,
Greece, Italy, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, U.K.,
Holland, Spain, U.S., Turkey, Hungary, Venezuela, Brazil,
Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Colombia, Guernsey,
Latvia, Slovakia, and Taiwan.

8. In March 2006, the Romanian Parliament ratified the
Cooperation Agreement between Romania and Switzerland on
fighting terrorism, organized crime, narcotics and other
transnational crimes. The Romanian Parliament also in March
enacted Law 36/2006 strengthening prevention and punishment
provisions against terrorist financing and money laundering.
The Romanian Parliament in October 2006 ratified the UN
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of
Nuclear Terrorism. The Romanian Parliament in November 2006
ratified two Council of Europe Conventions related to
counter-terrorism: the Convention on the Prevention of
Terrorism and the Convention on Money Laundering, and the
Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of Criminal Proceeds.

9. In June 2006, a Romanian citizen, Ioan Les, was detained
by Romanian intelligence agents near the town of Buzias in
Western Romania, for allegedly planning an act of terrorism.
According to Romanian authorities, the suspect was arrested
in transit to Timisoara, where he planned to use a remote
control device to blow up a car in the city center. The
suspect told investigators that his motive was to force
Romania to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Investigators
linked the suspect to a Bosnia-based terrorist network. The
Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) placed Les under
surveillance for several months after he allegedly made
several threats via the internet threats to various entities,
including CNN and Al-Jazeera television stations. Les was
charged under a 29-day preventive arrest warrant.

10. Omar Hayssam, a businessman with strong connections both
with the Arab world and the now-in-opposition Social
Democratic Party (PSD) was arrested on terrorism-related
charges in 2005 for his involvement in the abduction of three
Romanian journalists and another businessman in Iraq. Though
prohibited from leaving the country, Hayssam fled Romania for
Syria on June 30, 2006, following his conditional April
release on medical grounds. As a result of the ensuing public
scandal, the General Prosecutor, the Police Information
Service chief, and both Internal and External Intelligence
chiefs resigned.

11. On November 13, 2006, four Romanian-Muslim citizens were
arrested in Iasi under suspicion of supporting Middle Eastern
terrorist groups. The four allegedly belonged to the "Muslim
Brothers," an Al Qaeda-related terrorist cell.

12. On November 14, 2006, an Iraqi citizen Shaker A. Shaker
was arrested in Bacau under suspicion of terrorist-related
activities. Romanian Intelligence Services had evidence that
Shaker possessed a false passport, and that his real name was
in fact Mahmoud Chaker, a former Iraqi Embassy diplomat.
Shaker had been deported previously from Romania in 2003,
along with 40 other Iraqi citizens, for planning terrorist
attacks against Israeli interests in Bucharest.

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