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May 17, 2021

Nuland: Rule of law must be strengthened in Romania


FM Titus Corlatean voices Government’s pledge to strengthen rule of law state and democracy in Romania.

The United States takes a deep interest in the continuous development of the rule of law state, said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland in Bucharest, where she paid an official visit on Friday and Saturday. The rule of law state in Romania must be strengthened as it guarantees a prosperous Romania, said Nuland on Saturday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest after meeting Minister Titus Corlatean.

Whilst in Bucharest, Nuland said she held very important talks on such subjects as security, economy or the rule of law state and added that, as for the U.S. concerns, she was given some very important assurances by the Romanian Government. Together with its European partners the U.S. focuses on strengthening economic relations and we shall also strengthen our security relations more during the future NATO summit. This is what the rule of law state comes down to, we should struggle against corruption, it comes down to transparency, predictability, which are essential for economy and for security, said the American official.

When asked during a meeting with journalists what consequences there would be in case that some draft laws were passed, such as the ones on ‘an increased immunity’ of parliamentarians, Nuland said that the U.S. Embassy was very clear at that time when it came to the concerns for these questions and made it clear she held very important talks on all the vital subjects of the strategic partnership, enumerating security, economy, democracy and the rule of law state. The American official reiterated the fact that Romanian citizens must insist on the rule of law and on the transparency of the government. Nuland was also asked about the amnesty law. She said she did not want to deal with Romania’s domestic questions and that the U.S. voiced its point of view at that time. She voiced hope there would be an open honest debate here on the importance of transparency and the rule of law state.

On the other hand, Nuland offered ns the congratulations of President Obama, of Secretary of State Kerry to Romania on the tenth anniversary of this country’s joining the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO).

Victoria Nuland appreciated that her visit to Bucharest was a very good one and thanked the authorities for her presence in Bucharest. There were 24 very good and very interesting hours and I am grateful to the Government and the President for the opportunity to be here and am looking forward to coming back, said the US official.

In his turn, Minister of Foreign Affairs Titus Corlatean voiced the Government’s firm pledge to strengthen the rule of law state and democracy in Romania. Referring to the ‘robust’ strategic partnership between Romania and the US, Corlatean made it clear that this partnership was the ‘foundation’ of the Romanian-American relations and specified that, by virtue of this partnership, the sides can discuss and must even discuss sensitive subjects if need be. “We have considered our mutual positions and spoken about the strengthening of the rule of law state and democracy in Romania. It is first of all in our interest and we have voiced the firm pledge of Romania’s Government in this respect, which is very clear,” said Corlatean after the meeting with US Under Secretary of State. ‘We very much appreciate this visit, because it means that the most important strategic ally of Romania, which is the U.S., shows us interest and, of course, we had an important opportunity to discuss […] the essence of our Strategic Partnership […] We discussed cooperation between the two countries and also about an increasingly more significant presence of the U.S. in Romania, economically speaking. We also talked about our cooperation under NATO and about the agenda for the next NATO summit, to take place in the U.K.’, said Corlatean.

According to a MFA press release, the dialogue between Titus Corlatea and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State included, among other things, an exchange of opinions regarding certain draft laws currently under debate in the Romanian Parliament. “The Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated Romania’s firm commitment to consolidating democracy and the rule of law state, combating corruption and continuing with the institutional reforms, which represent fundamental elements for the further development and strengthening of the Strategic Partnership between the two states”, reads the press release.

Nuland met President Traian Basescu on Friday. During the meeting, Traian Basescu voiced hope that unimportant misunderstandings would not affect the substance of the relation between Romania and the US. “I hope that unimportant misunderstandings will not affect the substance of our relation,” said President Basescu. At the beginning of the meeting the Head of State voiced willingness to discuss with the US official the questions she has to approach during her visit to Bucharest. The importance of our alliance too, it is a very important relation between the United States and Romania, added Victoria Nuland. She emphasized the fact that she was in Romania in order to mark the tenth anniversary of Romania being a NATO member state and in order to discuss future developments. Nuland also met the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi, on Friday evening to discuss problems related to the judicial system.

Referring to the fact that Prime Minister Victor Ponta was not in Romania to meet her, Nuland said the fact her visit came in a moment when the PM Victor Ponta had other obligations represents a mere coincidence. The U.S. official said that the Prime Minister was received not so long ago by the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Washington and she appreciated the visit as a very good one, with very clear messages. FM Corlatean explained the premier’s agenda was decided a long time ago and could not suffer any change so that Ponta could meet Nuland. In his turn, Vice-Premier Liviu Dragnea told Mediafax that Victor Ponta left the country after the weekly Government session. “I don’t know, he could be in an official visit. He did not inform me”, said Dragnea.

PM Ponta was severely slammed by the opposition and the right-wing press for ‘snubbing’ Nuland’s visit.

The visit by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State to Bucharest was part of her European tour devoted to bilateral talks on regional and global issues that began on Tuesday, January 7, in The Hague, the Netherlands and continued on January 8 in Berlin, Germany, and on January 9 in Vilnius, Lithuania. After ending the visit to Bucharest, Nuland travelled to Paris, according to information posted by the U.S. Department of State.

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