Romania and the U.S. are strategic partners, but the United States of America have not had an ambassador in Bucharest already for two years. The Embassy is headed by the Charge d’Affaires Dean Thompson. The former American Ambassador in Romania, Mark Gitenstein (photo) , who completed his term as Ambassador to Bucharest on 14 December 2012, said he was ‘very discouraged’ by the fact that the appointment of a new ambassador to Bucharest was taking so long, but did stress that his successor would be a professional diplomat, stiripesurse.ro reports.‘I am very discouraged by the fact that the appointment of a new ambassador is taking so long. Romania deserves a new ambassador as soon as possible’, Mark Gitenstein, former U.S. Ambassador to Bucharest, told Mediafax. Gitenstein noted that, during the two years since he had ended his term in Romania, he had put pressure on the Obama Administration to act towards a nomination.‘I have talked to officials involved in the selection process and I know progress is being made to propose someone. I think this delay is primarily caused by the pressure of other activities here, in Washington, and nothing more than that. Once the Administration has made a nomination, the U.S. will send the name to the Romanian president to give his consent. If the president consents, the U.S. Administration will propose the person to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, a process which will take a few months. It’s difficult to say how long it will take’, Gitenstein said. The ex-ambassador says his successor will be a professional diplomat. ‘From what I know, the nominated person will be a professional diplomat, as I recommended. That should help obtain the conformation from the Senate’, he noted.
Blockage between Republicans and Democrats on hearings in Washington
During talks with the U.S. Charge d’Affaires, Dean Thompson, on 26 November, the Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu reiterated the need to make progress regarding the appointment of a new ambassador of the United States to Bucharest, Mediafax states.“The American Administration is aware of the need to appoint an ambassador to Bucharest”, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reassured ex-Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean during talks they held on 29 April in Washington on the margins of the ‘Toward a Europe whole and free’ conference organised by the US Atlantic Council.
The former Romanian ambassador to Washington between 1996-2000, Senator Mircea Geoana said on 22 April that U.S. President Barack Obama had nominated three candidates for the position as ambassador to Romania, but two of them quit the process after ascertaining a blockage between the Republicans and Democrats on hearings.
Geoana: Delaying the appointment of the ambassador does not show disrespect for Romania
During a Realitatea TV programme, Mircea Geoana was asked about the situation with the U.S. ambassador to Bucharest who has not been proposed by the American authorities. ‘With the Americans, this is a matter of substance. Currently there are more than 35 countries worldwide where they have no ambassador, for one reason – they have such an intricate system between the Administration of a certain political orientation and the Congress that has a different political colour, the Senate, where the Republicans are also very influential, that they block each other. I believe there have been three names so far approved by President Obama, three successive people proposed as ambassadors to Romania: a lady who, realising how long the scheduling of hearings in the Senate take – it cannot happen without hearings in the US Senate – dropped out. She was a lady with a very good economic and financial situation. Then there was someone else considered, but that person could not wait that long. As far as I know, they are at an advances stage in finding a person, but this is not disrespectful for Romania, there is just a disarticulated system at the Americans I hope they will deal with, because you cannot keep almost a quarter of the world’s countries without ambassadors’, Mediafax quotes Mircea Geoana as saying.