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March 23, 2023

Basescu accuses PSD of blocking Hayssam’s extradition from Syria

The president claims the Social Democrats’ stalling of the accord with Damascus is ‘worse’ than the Cluj PDL mayor corruption scandal.

The president yesterday accused on the public radio (RRA) the Social Democratic Party (PSD) of opposing the extradition of Omar Hayssam from Syria. More precisely, the chief of state said that Social-Democrat Titus Corlatean, chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Policy Committee, does not consider opportune signing the extradition accord between Romania and Syria. Hayssam was sentenced to prison for the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq, in 2005. “Unfortunately, in the Foreign Policy Committee of the Senate, Mr. Corlatean considers that the political situation in Syria makes unfeasible the signing of this accord,” the chief of state said. President Basescu explained that, until the extradition agreement between Romania and Syria – signed during his visit to Syria in October 2008 – is ratified, “we cannot continue to ask Syria to give us Hayssam, who is still in prison in Syria, as far as we know.” In retort, Corlatean said Traian Basescu is afraid that he might become Senate Speaker and that his statements “are lies and manipulations”.

Basescu also accused that Hayssam was present aboard the plane used by the president of Romania, a reference to Ion Iliescu, and that he was on the lists of candidates of a party, an allusion to PSD. “There are many ways I can understand his explanation, but I cannot stop from noticing that, given the extraordinarily big interests of those who were in power when Mr. Omar Hayssam traveled on the plane of the president of the country, there apparently is a political blockage, something that is more serious than Mr. Apostu’s corruption,” Basescu said. Asked why he believes that extraditing Hayssam is more serious than the Apostu case, Traian Basescu answered: “Everything that concerns money is serious, but kidnapping is a crime.

This is about kidnapping three Romanian citizens, whose lives were in danger.”

Regarding Apostu’s and Vintu’s recent corruption cases,  Basescu said  that fight against corruption is a national security issue, as not only prosecutors are involved in this process, but also Police and intelligence officers.

Schengen’s issue depending on just one vote

Speaking about the accession to the Schengen Zone, Basescu expressed his hope that Romanian diplomacy will find a formula of agreement with the Netherlands in the near future, in order not to raise the problem of Romania’s accession to Schengen during the European Council scheduled for December 9. “It is useless to have diplomacy, if the Dutch government depends on just one vote. It has a majority of just one vote in the Parliament, secured with the support of the anti-European party led by Wilders, and we pay the price of such parties existing in governments. This is the problem, because I do not believe that injustice, unfairness is in the spirit of the Dutch people,” the president mentioned. The head of the Schengen Department of the Ministry of Administration and Interior (MAI), Marian Tutilescu yesterday voiced the same hope that the Netherlands will adopt a “more flexible” position after the monitoring report on Justice, adding that Romania has 80-90 pc chances of a gradual accession to the Schengen Zone in 2012.

“No money for pensions and salaries”

The president showed himself inflexible with respect to pensions and salaries. “Irrespective of the Constitutional Court ruling, there is no money left. If it were, it would be paid,” he said. “All of us must understand that we can no longer live borrowing money for consumption. (…) Politically speaking, it would be very easy to me, and to Government, to claim being generous, while condemning the country in the coming years,” Basescu added.

The law freezing pensions and public employee salaries in 2012 was challenged in the Constitutional Court yesterday. Eugen Nicolaescu, the deputy leader of National Liberal Party (PNL) deputies, made the point that, were the Constitutional Court to reject the contestation, the Social-Liberal Union (USL) will urge President Traian Basescu not to sign into law this “immoral and illegal” bill, and if he refuses to do so, then “yet another argument, another reason, will gather up in the president suspension file”. As a matter of fact, the leaders of the Social Liberal Union agreed last evening to prepare a report regarding President’s impeachment that is to be presented on Monday.

“I almost asked Ponta and Antonescu to cooperate”

Referring to the political instability, the head of state said that his goal is to keep the coalition together, since political instability would make financing stop immediately. “Nobody would remember that I almost asked Ponta and Antonescu to cooperate last spring. This cannot be, this cannot be! My goal is to contribute to keeping this coalition together,” Basescu said, who nonetheless again criticized the ruling coalition over the reduction in the number of lawmakers, reproaching their failure to promote the 300 MP project, but pushing for one with 388 parliamentarians instead. “I found it quite difficult to find a reason why they wouldn’t answer the Romanians’ vote. How could it be for them to say that, “while the Romanian people might be sovereign, this wouldn’t do for me ,” Basescu said. Referring to the USL legislative proposal aimed at the MP number being slashed to 300, the president said: “God help this is not a mere demagoguery, they won’t obstruct it once they tabled it”.

Local administrations admonished

President Traian Basescu urged local public administration to take responsibility for GDP growth, job creation, demanding they no longer spent money on “pansies and tulips”. “It’s one thing to buy pansies on mayoralty money, to buy tulips from Holland, and quite another to invest in the community. I call on local administrations to understand their responsibility in creating jobs, alongside Government,” he said.

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