PM Ponta admits lack of communication with the President on his Arab tour: I should’ve picked up the phone to inform

Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday evening that in the case of his recent Arab tour that was not notified to President Klaus Iohannis “there was probably a lack of communication with the President,” adding that from now on he will discuss directly with Iohannis and not just through the team of advisers.

“There was probably a lack of communication, generally speaking in the area of foreign policy. The foreign minister discussed with the presidential adviser, Mr Comanescu. The visit had been scheduled for more than one year in advance. You can realise that you cannot just go and meet the king of Saudi Arabia or leaders in the area. Long before the tour, I requested all available data about those places from the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) and the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). That was a lack of communication, and we can surely communicate better in the area,” Ponta told Digi TV private broadcaster.

On the other hand, Ponta explained that constitutionally speaking, things are clear as far as the attributes of the President and the Prime Minister go.

“I have seen highly politicised commentaries from intelligent and educated people: ‘The President does the whole foreign policy and the Government is not allowed to leave the country!’ The Constitution spells out the role of the President and the role of the Government, and all my visits in my governmental capacity, especially economic ones, have been circumscribed to the idea of furthering economic cooperation between Romania and other countries,” Ponta explained, adding that the Government can in its turn help the President when going on visits abroad with its apparatus.

Ponta said that before going to Saudi Arabia, where Romania has no ambassador, he “talked with Foreign Minister Aurescu, who talked with presidential adviser Comanescu and included on the list of ambassadors the President appointed was the ambassador in Riyadh.”

“When I arrived in Riyadh to meet the king, I said: Look, after four years (…) there is good institutional cooperation in Romania and we also have an ambassador. There were thousands of things that we prepared together. From now on, I will have no problem with picking up the phone to communicate directly, not just via teams,” said Ponta, according to Agerpres.

He added that he speaks with the President any time necessary and that he finds it a normal thing every time they meet to make public the meeting after the meeting takes place.

On Friday, President Iohannis said Victor Ponta failed to discuss with him prior to Ponta’s recent Arab tour, saying it is a novel way of doing foreign policy.

“Victor Ponta left on his own. He did not talk with me prior to his Arab tour,” said Iohannis.


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