33012 5/20/2005 13:20 05BUCHAREST1173 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 001173
FOR CA-A/S HARTY, CA/OCS/CI, EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2015 TAGS: CASC, PREL, OVIP, RO, adoption, Repatriation SUBJECT: A/S HARTY MEETINGS IN ROMANIA ON ADOPTIONS
Classified By: CONSUL GENERAL BRYAN DALTON FOR REASONS 1.5 B AND D
SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST
1. (C) In meetings May 10 and 11 with President Basescu, Foreign Minister Ungureanu and other officials of the Government of Romania (GOR), Assistant Secretary Maura Harty found no evidence that the GOR had specific plans or strong commitment to resolve pending cases of international adoption affected by the law in place since January 1 banning adoptions out of Romania. She informed her interlocutors she would have to share that impression with American families whose petitions to adopt Romanian children were affected by the ban. She reiterated to FM Ungureanu the message given by the Secretary during his meeting with her in Washington, that establishing a road map towards eventual inclusion of Romania in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) would depend on progress towards resolving the pending cases.
2. (C) (Summary, cont,d.) After his meeting with A/S Harty, President Basescu appeared to have changed his mind and decided to take positive action on the issue. On May 12, he informed Charge d,Affaires that he had discussed the adoption issue with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn on May 11; would instruct FM Ungureanu to write the EC expressing the desirability of putting in motion a process to resolve the cases; and that Romania would take the initiative to convince the Germans, Italians, French and others to wield their influence and urge the EC to view resolution of the cases favorably. End summary.
3. (C) Action Request: Per internal discussions during A/S Harty,s visit, post requests Department consideration of a letter from the Secretary to the European Commission urging the EC support humanitarian resolution of pending international adoption cases from Romania. End request.
BASESCU OBSTINATE ON ADOPTIONS, DEFLECTS DISCUSSION OF NAZIS
4. (C) A/S Harty opened her May 10 meeting with President Traian Basescu by expressing support for Romania as it seeks release of Romanian journalists being held hostage in Iraq. She thanked Basescu for his commitments made in Washington on March 9 and 10, to President Bush and to American families who have petitioned to adopt Romanian children, to explore resolution of pending cases of international adoption legally registered before the GOR instituted Law 272/2004 banning such adoptions on January 1, 2005. She noted the families and the Department had respected Basescu,s request not to discuss the issue publicly until after Romania,s April 25 signing of its treaty of accession to the European Union. She regretted that, since that date, the Government of Romania (GOR) appeared to have taken no action towards finding a solution for the cases. She urged that the GOR expeditiously determine which of the children might no longer be eligible for adoption, so the families waiting for them would not keep up their hopes in vain. She acknowledged there are those who oppose permitting adoptions out of Romania, but noted that the European Parliament and the EU Rapporteur for Romania had publicly condoned adoptions in certain cases.
5. (C) Basescu said he did recall his conversations in Washington, but that raising this subject in Brussels with the EU was like &starting the clock on a bomb.8 Romania currently has huge problems with the EU. The GOR needs to settle this issue for France and Germany as well, and hopes in the coming months to find some opportunity to advance a special law regarding children pending adoption. Some of those children already are in the U.S. without completed adoptions. He hoped people in Brussels would understand the situation in Romania more clearly in the coming months, so there could be discussions of the pending cases. He stated he had not abandoned the issue and wanted to clear up this problem in Romania,s relations, including with France and Germany. Now is an &uncertain period8 due to politicians in Germany campaigning for office who try to appear tough on countries seeking to join the EU.
6. (C) Basescu reported that on May 11 he would be meeting EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, visiting from Brussels, and would discuss the 256 children being sought for adoption to various countries, including Israel.
7. (C) A/S Harty explained that Basescu,s comments in Washington had given the families hope for action after April 25, and asked whether there were a new reference date or &road map8 she could share with them. Basescu said there was not, but that if he failed on this issue he would fly to the U.S. to tell the families himself.
8. (C) Asked whether there were support within the European Commission to resolve these cases, Basescu responded that now was a &very inappropriate moment8 to discuss the issue, even with the European Parliament. The &right way8 to proceed would be to talk to the EC. Basescu confirmed that the &backbone of the problem8 was the shadow Rapporteur for Romania,s EU accession, Baroness Emma Nicholson. (Note: Nicholson is a British member of the European Parliament, former Rapporteur for Romania and fierce foe of inter-country adoption out of Romania. End note.) Basescu said he agreed with Nicholson in principle, but that the pending cases required solution.
9. (C) A/S Harty pressed again for a timeline on the issue, but Basescu replied he would have to first &test the atmosphere8 and might have some idea after his May 12 meeting with Rehn .
10. (C) Basescu stated the issue of the pending adoptions was a &closed subject8 and that he would discuss it with Rehn. When A/S Harty responded that she certainly hoped the subject was not closed, Basescu responded emphatically &it is closed. I have my obligation to the families. Look at the realities ) we have huge problems in Brussels. Do not focus on small issues(focus on our big problems.8 He said that, now the EU accession treaty was signed, he would begin discussion of the issue, starting with Rehn. Meanwhile, he had 22 million Romanians and Brussels to worry about.
11. (U) A/S Harty made clear the USG did not regard the issue as small. She assured Basescu the American families seeking to adopt the children would be relentless in pressing for resolution. She offered USG assistance in intervening with the EU, France or Germany. Basescu responded that such approaches in the past had been tried but were a disaster, due to interventions by &our friend(,dear, Emma8 Nicholson. He said it was &ridiculous8 to block the pending cases but no one was prepared to create a confrontation within the EC. He speculated that Nicholson might become less aggressive on the issue now it was clear her party had lost in the recent elections in the UK. He said Nicholson was key to the issue and had mobilized uninformed European parliamentarians, creating unfair pressure against the children being sought for adoption, for the sake of a &political game(without principle.8
12. (C) Basescu closed the discussion by saying &we will do everything we can. It is no longer a political problem for me, but a personal one.8
REPATRIATION OF FORMER NAZIS
13. (U) A/S Harty commended Basescu for his public acts and words acknowledging Romania,s role in the Holocaust, and urged that Romania accept repatriation of several Romanian national former Nazis subject to deportation from the U.S. Basescu claimed not to have known this issue would be on the agenda and was not prepared to discuss it. (Note: Embassy had alerted MFA in advance that A/S Harty would raise the issue. End note.)
14. (U) A/S Harty was joined in this meeting by Angela Aggeler, Spokesperson for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Charge d'Affaires Thomas Delare, and Consul General Bryan Dalton (notetaker). Basescu was joined by Foreign Ministry Director General for Global Affairs Stelian Stoian and Director General for Consular Affairs Cristian Gaginsky, Presidential Counselor Elena Udrea and State Counselor Anca Ilinoiu.
FM UNGUREANU: MORE TALK, NO WALK
15. (C) A/S Harty told Ungureanu she was at loss as what to tell families with regards to Romania,s closed adoption policy, saying &Hope is not a policy.8 Families cannot wait an indeterminate amount of time and a preparatory step needs to be made to deal with the 200 pending cases. She sought a determination as to which children were not eligible for adoption so the Americans seeking to adopt them could move on with their lives. She proposed that the cases pending when Law 272/2004 came into effect be &grandfathered8 and processed to conclusion under the law in effect when they were registered with the Romanian Adoption Committee.
16. (C) When FM Ungureanu raised the question of including Romania among countries on a &road map" towards eventual inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), A/S Harty reiterated the position that Secretary Rice had laid out in her meeting with Ungureanu in Washington the week before, that there would be no &traction8 on VWP unless there were &traction8 on adoptions.
17. (C) FM Ungureanu stated a general solution to all of the international adoption cases was needed, if not general, then on a case-by-case basis. He has started to prepare a solution and needs the time to discuss it with the European Commission. The road map needs to be taken to Brussels. He wants to know how Brussels feels about this issue before Romania makes a final decision. Ungureanu assured A/S Harty that they were on the same side of the issue, and that he was looking for a solution and would work with her in good faith.
18. (U) A/S Harty was joined in the meeting by CA Spokesperson Aggeler, CG Dalton and Vice Consul Ann Marie Everitt (notetaker.) Ungureanu was joined by MFA Director General for Consular Affairs Cristian Gaginsky, Presidential Counselor Ileana Tinis and MFA Desk Officer Alina Stoicescu.
PRIME MINISTER,S OFFICE: BETTER DISCUSSION BUT NO SPECIFICS
19. (U) On May 11, A/S Harty called on State Counselor Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, Director of the Prime Minister,s Office, Theodora Bertzi, Secretary of State of the Romanian Office for Adoptions (ROA) and MFA Advisor Calin Fabian. A/S Harty began the discussion by expressing her disappointment with her May 10 meeting with President Basescu. That discussion led her to believe that the two sides are farther apart than she originally thought. A/S Harty stated that the American families must know if there is a roadmap for resolving the pending cases so they can pursue the adoptions or move on with their lives. She suggested the GOR could address the concerns of both the foreign families seeking to adopt and the EU by treating the pending cases under a different law but enforcing the current law for any new adoption cases. In addition, A/S Harty asked if it would be useful for the U.S. to coordinate with other countries with pipeline cases. Finally, she expressed the need for a thorough inventory of the pending cases.
20. (C) Constantinescu explained that although the GOR is committed to resolving the adoption issue, it was not a high priority for the new government during its first months in office. Regarding the idea of two laws, one for the old cases and one for the new, Mr. Constantinescu asked whether the U.S. could support Romania if it made such an offer to the EU. A/S Harty informed him that her deputy would be in Brussels soon and could assist the GOR. Regarding USG coordination with other pipeline countries, Mr. Constantinescu replied that the GOR has not felt much pressure from the Europeans on this issue. He advised that both the USG and GOR must &take the temperature8 of Brussels and the European capitals on the matter. Mr. Constantinescu also agreed that there must be an up-to-date inventory and examination of the pending cases. He pledged to raise A/S Harty,s concerns with Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu.
21. (C) A/S Harty and Constantinescu concluded their meeting by agreeing on the importance of continued communication. In closing, Mr. Constantinescu asked whether the roadmap towards inclusion of Romania in the Visa Waiver Program were a priority for the USG, saying the GOR needed to know whether this issue remained on the bilateral agenda. A/S Harty said discussions should continue but there could be no progress on the visa waiver program if there were no progress on adoptions.
22. (U) A/S Harty was joined in the meeting by CA Spokesperson Aggeler, CG Dalton and Vice Consul Kevin Opstrup (notetaker).
BASESCU,S CHANGE OF HEART?
23. (C) On May 12, Charge attended a meeting between Basescu and visiting Assistant Secretary of Commerce William Lash. Basescu abruptly interrupted his discussion, and, addressing the Charge, said he had discussed the adoption issue with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn on May 11; would instruct FM Ungureanu to write the EC expressing the desirability of putting in motion a process to resolve the cases; and that Romania would take the initiative to convince the Germans, Italians, French and others to wield their influence and urge the EC to view resolution of the cases favorably.
24. (C) Post believes Basescu,s May 12 statements indicate he took to heart A/S Harty,s message and realized anew how seriously the USG takes resolution of the pending cases. His was the most forward-leaning commitment to action by the GOR leadership to date. Post will follow up with his advisors, the Prime Minister,s office and the MFA in the coming days, and continue to discreetly explore with European embassy interlocutors possibilities for their engaging the EC and European Parliament to resolve pending adoptions. End comment. DELARE