The meeting with President Obama had not been mentioned in the agenda announced by the Romanian Presidency for Basescu's visit to the US. But a White House press release brought light on the talks.
Barack Obama joined a meeting between Traian Basescu and Joe Biden which was taking place in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Obama invited the two to the Oval Office, where they held talks for about 25 minutes.
What happened in the Oval Office:
- Obama thanked his Romanian counterpart for the firm partnership of the two countries and congratulated him for the treaty on the deployment of the US missile shield on Romanian territory
- He also congratulated Basescu for the joint statement on the Strategic Partnership for the 21 Century
- He also thanked him for Romania's actions within NATO and the sacrifice of Romanian soldiers in Afghanistan
- They discussed the important role Romania may play in supporting democracy in Europe and the Middle East
Also on Tuesday, Basescu met CIA head David Petraeus and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Meanwhile, Foreign minister Teodor Baconschi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the accord on Romania's hosting of terrestrial components of the US missile shield.
- Read the whole statement on the US-Romania Strategic Partnership here
Upon his return to Romania, Basescu made a series of statements related to his visit to Washington. He said:
- The missile shield deal improves Romania's security to an unprecedented level
- The deployment of missiles is beneficial not only for Romania but also to European countries
- The goal is that this bilateral security installation become part of the NATO system
- He hoped to reach an agreement with the US Department of State on making the accord public
- The accord must be ratified by the Romanian Parliament
- A statement on the strategic partnership with the US mentions that Barack Obama supports changes to the law on visas (for Romanian citizens)
- The partnership refers to the political, military, economic, scientific, technical, cultural, educational and research cooperation between the two countries
- The partnership is beneficial for both parties
- It is in the US interest to have a strong state here, on the borders of NATO, and have it develop further
The Russian Foreign minister said on Tuesday evening that the signing of the missile shield in Romania determines the need of urgent guarantees that the system is not aimed at Russia's strategic forces, as Ria Novosti reported.
But NATO welcomed the accord on the missile shield, with Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen saying on Wednesday that the deployment of defensive interceptors in Romania would improve the NATO capacity of missile defense as agreed in the Lisbon summit in November.
Romania's contribution to the missile shield by hosting terrestrial components at a military base in Deveselu, Olt county (South Romania) implies terrestrial interceptors and a radar system will be deployed there. The Deveselu base is due to become operational in 2015. See more in the attached info-graphic.