Opposition, ruling coalition not taken aback by disclosures

SENATE SPEAKER AND EX SOCIAL DEMOCRAT LEADER MIRCEA GEOANA told Antena 3 that he never had any secret negotiations with Traian Basescu, as the US diplomatic cables indicate. Moreover, he said the “I’m number one” quote attributed to him in one of the documents is “not really my style of conversation.” Geoana underlined that he indeed warned Basescu that he would get impeached if he continued to ignore his constitutional duties, but reiterated that he never had secret meetings with the head of state, away from the PSD’s eyes.

PSD LEADER VICTOR PONTA said the cables bring nothing new or surprising. When asked whether the information on the Geoana-Basescu meeting could lead to the Senate speaker’s exclusion from the party, Ponta denied, saying that PSD does not expel members “for what they talk about over coffee.”

In his turn, LIBERAL LEADER CRIN ANTONESCU said some of the cables are “shallow and irrelevant,” being nothing more than “undocumented compositions.” He underlined that there is “too much fuss” being done for what was published until now, as the things included in the cables were already known to the public. “What did we find out? That there are people who have political interests? That there are PSD members who think poorly of other PSD members? That Basescu controls the secret services, as the Americans say it clearly in a report? (…) Anyway, they won’t change anything. Romania’s big problems today are not what the Americans think or how the Americans were being ‘intoxicated’ in 2007,” Antonescu said. In a press conference later yesterday Antonescu also slammed ex US Ambassador Nicholas Taubman’s conclusion that former PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu (leading PNL member) was pro-Russian, describing the comment as “huge nonsense.”

As for Basescu’s impeachment and Social Democrat Viorel Hrebenciuc’s attempt to stop the process, as indicated by the cables, FORMER PRESIDENT ION ILIESCU said several party leaders had doubts that the matter had to be continued. “The impeachment was a motivated political act, I’m talking about Parliament’s vote. But we did not estimate its finality with the people’s vote. Basescu still had the people’s support then. We shouldn’t have gone to this stage,” Iliescu said. Commenting on the cables as a whole, Iliescu said they confirm the fact “lack of decency and personality has no political colour.”

DEPUTY VIOREL HREBENCIUC himself told Mediafax that he indeed had a meeting with US deputy Ambassador Mark Taplin in 2007, but said it was an official discussion at his office at the Chamber of Deputies. Hrebenciuc however denied ever meeting Democrat Liberal Elena Udrea to discuss the impeachment issue. He insisted that his doubts about Basescu’s impeachment were normal from a political point of view.

PSD NATIONAL COUNCIL LEADER ADRIAN NASTASE said the cables prove that the corruption probes he is facing were indeed initiated on political orders and that Basescu lied when saying the investigations began following complaints from Social Democrats. “Even the fact that this matter was discussed in a political meeting and was discussed in these terms by Traian Basescu proves that my cases were indeed political in nature,” Nastase said. As for the cable in which PSD MP Georgian Pop is severely criticising his party colleagues, Nastase said he found it sad that some politicians “go to confess their sins to various embassies.”

On the other hand, EX INTERIOR MINISTER AND DEMOCRAT LIBERAL SECRETARY GENERAL VASILE BLAGA underlined that the documents “are not news for Romania.” When asked to confirm if he had meetings with the US ambassador between 2007 and 2009, Blaga said all ministers who have “heavier portfolios” have meetings with foreign envoys at least once every week. In his turn, PDL VICE PRESIDENT GHEORGHE

FLUTUR said the cables included “nothing new.” but only inferable information.

As for the top of oligarchs influential in Romania made in one of the cables,

CONSERVATIVE PARTY FOUNDER DAN VOICULESCU refused to make any comments on the matter, saying only “Who is WikiLeaks?” When pressed by journalists, Voiculescu said Romania is not owned, but led and that he is not one of the people leading the country.

Commenting on the same matter, BUSINESSMAN AND MEP GIGI BECALI said he was honoured to be included in the ranking. He added that the cable does not present him as an oligarch, but as a person of great influence in the country.


The US Embassy to Romania said yesterday that the State Department has no comments about the materials published by the local media, underlining that it cannot issue any opinion on the authenticity of the documents. US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein also refused to make any comments when asked by journalists. Gitenstein only said the cables speak by themselves, according to Mediafax.

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