Romania's prime minister Victor Ponta is due to leave for an official visit to the US on Sunday, but it all depends on how the government shutdown in the States comes to an end - if no solution is found by Friday, the visit might be postponed, diplomatic sources have told They said PM Ponta's agenda includes talks with Vice-President Joe Biden and another top official and a series of meetings with representatives of US companies. Meanwhile, Romanian minister-delegate for Energy Constantin Nita attends an energy and investments conference in Washington DC.

Question marks have always been raised about a visit by PM Ponta to the US. American officials have suggested him he'd better postpone the visit until end of year to avoid the difficulties sparked by the budget crisis in the States, but the prime minister is said to have insisted to hold the visit by the end of this month, political sources told

On Tuesday, October 8, Victor Ponta cast a shadow of doubt on the possibility of such a visit this year, a week after he haid confirmed it. Asked by reporters whether he would hold such a visit to the States, he said he didn't know and that he used to announce all his visits abroad well in advance.

And last Wednesday, he said his schedule included a meeting with large American companies investing in Romania's energy and IT sector "by the end of this year".

In mid-September, news website quoted government sources as saying that PM Ponta would pay an official visit to the States in late October.

Diplomatic sources have told that talks were taking place about a possible visit by President Traian Basescu to the States before the end of year.