Romanian President Traian Basescu will pay an official visit to the United States on July 26-28, at the invitation of his American counterpart George W. Bush. The visit is part of the “intensified political dialogue” between the two countries, according to a Romanian Presidency press release.

The visit will include a meeting with George W. Bush, a press conferece in the Oval Office and a dinner hosted by Bush in the honor of the Romanian President. Basescu will also meet Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, leaders of the US Congress and of NGOs involved in regional strategy issues.

The visit comes as 16 months after Basescu’s first visit to the US since elected President in late 2004. And it follows a recent scandal in Romania, sparked when the Liberal Party - PNL, led by prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, requested the Supeme Defense Council of Romania to withdraw the Romanian troops in Iraq.

The call came without prior notification of US and British Ambassadors to Bucharest, which expressed their concern about the issue. The withdrawal request was eventually rejected in late June.

But according to the Presidential Administration in Bucharest, the visit comes in the framework of the conclusion of negotiations and the ratification of an Access Accord to establish US military bases on Romanian soil and intensified collaboration between the two countries within NATO.