In the press conference they held together yesterday in Neptun, Romania, the US President George W. Bush and the Romanian President Traian Basescu highlighted how important the Black Sea was to the North-Atlantic Alliance, also emphasizing Romania's part at the NATO border. When first meeting with the Romanian President in Washington, President Bush had called him the best adviser of his on matters related to Basarabia. This time Traian Basescu was his best adviser in Black Sea affairs. The Black Sea security was the main issue the two presidents raised during the press conference, together with the fact that all regional states were under the same threat.
The US President expressed his appreciation for the Romanian President's status as Black Sea leader. He claimed the US shared the security concerns and Romania's wish to make the region more important and consolidate the democratic governments in the regional states. And the President of Romania replied by expressing thanks for the interest in the Black Sea region's security.
In a report released in March 19 the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs admitted having prevented Romania's Black Sea initiatives. The document emphasizes Russia had to do hard work to counter Romanian initiatives to allow in the Black Sea region for structures including a considerable extra-regional component and first of all for the Black Sea Forum for dialogue and partnership. There is mentioned that Romanian activism did not meet Russia's interests and it diminished, to a certain extent.
On the other hand, according to the same report, the Moscow policy to minimize the effects of Romania's accession to the EU and of bilateral relations had positive results, capitalized in the protocol between Moscow and the European Commission concerning the extension of the Russia-EU agreement over Romania. There is also the fact that last year the presense of the US bases in the Black Sea region complicated the political dialogue between Moscow and Bucharest.
Visas and Teo Peter case
When answering a question during the press conference, the US President admitted he could understand Romanians' frustration about the visas and he added he agreed with President Basescu to collaborate and improve things. He mentioned that he had tried to persuade the Congress into modernizing the visa law, that the latter had been modified, but there still were obstacles for states such as Romania. The US President told the Romanian President that their collaboration would abide by the US law and also improve things in terms of the permission for Romanians to travel to the US. And the example he used was citizens wishing to visit their relatives in the US.
The Romanian President announced he had just talked to the US President about the Teo Peter case, mentioning the White House leader decided a reasonable solution was to be found as soon as possible, a solution to be accepted by the victim's family.
It is to be reminded that Romanian music player Teo Peter died in December 4, 2004 because of a car belonging to the US Embassy in Bucharest crashing the cab he was in. Marine shooter Christopher R. Vangoethem, the man driving the American car, got away with the muder charge by a trial in the US.