Romanian President Traian Basescu will start a three-day official visit to the United States on Wednesday at the peak of a domestic scandal in his country, related to the disappearance of a businessman charged with terrorism.
Omar Hayssam, a businessman of Syrian descent who was placed under terrorism charges over his involvement in the abduction of three Romanian journalists in Iraq last year, was set free on parole in April this year. Two weeks ago, he vanished from official radars, prompting the resignation of Romania’s top prosecutor and of the heads of the main intelligence services in the country.
This may prove a hard time for President Basescu during his visit to Washington this week, as the Romanian head of state was ready to provide his US counterpart George W. Bush assurances that Romania is determined to keep focus on the fight against terrorism.
The visit was announced shortly after Romanian Defense minister Teodor Atanasiu, on behalf of his Liberal Party, requested the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Iraq. The unexpected request was eventually rejected.