Extradition Treaty Agreement and Visa Waiver Advances: Romania and United States / May 2009

In Washington D.C. FM Diaconescu signs new extradition deal with the US
Nine O’Clock May 11, 2009

A new extradition treaty between Romania and the United States was signed on Friday, on occasion of Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu’s visit to Washington, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry. The signing ceremony involved an exchange of ratification tools for the Extradition Treaty signed on September 10, 2007 and an additional protocol to the judiciary assistance treaty signed in May 1999.

The new treaty comes to replace the previous extradition convention signed in Bucharest on July 23, 1924 and the 1936 amending treaty, according to the Foreign Ministry. The document, which came in effect as of Friday, is aimed at making bilateral cooperation more efficient by simplifying extradition document transmission and the entire extradition procedure.

While in Washington D.C. FM Diaconescu also met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Talks between the two officials focused on the possibility of including Romania in the US Visa Waiver programme, Diaconescu said. He added that economic issues were also high on the agenda, along with energy security and collaboration in peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Romania has proven to be able to take responsibilities so as to support freedom and democratic development,” he said.

In turn, Clinton talked about the close cooperation between Romania and the US in global security and voiced gratitude for Romania’s participation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo missions. Clinton thanked Romania for its decision to host joint military exercises with US troops.

The meeting was also a good opportunity to reconfirm the strategic partnership between the two countries, with Clinton saying that Romania is “one of the most trustworthy allies and one of the most respectable partners of the US.”

Diaconescu added that he and his counterpart decided to work hard in the future to have “democratic standards and principles” respected in the Black Sea and Eastern Europe region and to increase the area’s stability and security.

During the talks, Clinton voiced hope that she will be able to visit Romania again, according to a press release posted on the website of the US State Department and quoted by Mediafax. “I must say I have had the great privilege of visiting Romania ten years ago. I hope I will have the opportunity to go there again in the future,” she said.

Encouragement on visas

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources said that Diaconescu received a positive message of encouragement about Romania’s inclusion into the Visa Waiver programme, according to Mediafax. During a meeting with one of the heads of the US Senate panel on foreign affairs, Senator Richard Lugar, Diaconescu was reportedly told that the visa issue “is top on the agenda.”

The messages conveyed to Minister Diaconescu show that the “new US administration has a special interest in strengthening its Strategic Partnership with Romania,” the same sources said.

“Detailed elements on the Romanian-American strategy in the Black Sea, Central Asia and Middle East areas were discussed,” the sources said. They added that “Romania’s partners are very interested in finding Bucharest’s evaluations about the eastern neighbouring area of the North-Atlantic space.”

by Mihai Barbu