DIPLOMACY

U.S. Embassy on picture of ambassador holding on to the Szekely Land’s flag: Klemm, ambassador to all of Romania. MAE: Visiting diplomats need to consider local sensitivities

In a press statement on Wednesday, the United States Embassy in Romania said Hans Klemm is ambassador to all of Romania and that the ambassador travels to different regions of the country regularly and meets various groups of the Romanian society.

The statement came after Sfantu Gheorghe Mayor Antal Arpad posted on Facebook a picture of ambassador Hans Klemm holding on to the Szekely Land’s flag. The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) says the American diplomat’s visits to Harghita and Covasna counties is part of any embassy duties to experience and document local realities for itself.

The US Embassy said in the statement that the ambassador travels to different regions of the country regularly and meets various groups of the Romanian society. It adds that as Romania’s ally and strategic partner, the US supports and applauds democracy in Romania and the country’s efforts to strengthen institutions through full and equal participation of all segments of the Romanian society.

At the same time, asked by Agerpres, MAE stressed that regarding the picture of the American diplomat “such visits involve understanding of and consideration for possible local sensitivities.”

“Ambassador Hans Klemm’s visit in the country is part of the current duties of any embassy to document the realities in the host state for itself and to relate to the local officials. (…) As for the picture you are referring to, such visits involve understanding of and consideration for possible local sensitivities. We passed these remarks to our American partners in a conversation with the US Embassy in Bucharest,” MAE said.

MAE also expressed its conviction that “such visit also helps generate a correct image of the Romanian realities regarding minority rights and the intercultural model Romania promotes, which fully subscribes to standards in the field.”

Sfantu Gheorghe City Mayor Antal Arpad on Tuesday posted on his Facebook page a picture of him, the US ambassador to Romania and other local officials holding on to the Szekely Land’s flag.

“I gave the US ambassador a flag of the Szekely Land, a flag that has become the symbol of the lack of respect the Romanian authorities have displayed for the Hungarian community. I have to say that this flag was first seen in 1599, when the Szecklers fought alongside [Romanian ruler] Michael the Brave,” the mayor wrote.

 

MAE Spokesperson: The US ambassador has not been summoned

 

Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) spokesperson Ionut Valcu on Wednesday denied rumors that the United States Ambassador Hans Klemm was summoned to the MAE over a picture of Klemm holding on to a Szekely Land’s flag.

“There has been no summoning. The minister has no appointment [with Klemm] on his agenda,” Valcu said.

He made the statement amidst media rumors that Klemm had been summoned to MAE for Wednesday night to explain the situation.

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