103994 4/11/2007 14:55 07BUCHAREST412 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL VZCZCXRO1462 PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #0412/01 1011455 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 111455Z APR 07 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6421 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 000412
STATE FOR EUR/FO, EUR/NCE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2017 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, RO SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S INTRODUCTORY MEETING WITH NEW FOREIGN MINISTER ADRIAN CIOROIANU
Classified By: Ambassador Nicholas Taubman for 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Summary: In a get-acquainted meeting with the Ambassador, new Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu stressed that continuity of policy and close ties with the United States would be the hallmark of his tenure. He assured the Ambassador that Romania was "not in a hurry" to withdraw all forces from Iraq, and would decide on next steps only after close consultation. He added that his other priorities included making the right type of appointment for a new Romanian Ambassador to the United States; hosting the 2008 NATO Summit; and obtaining a favorable USG response to Romania's request to be included in the Visa Waiver program. Cioroianu also evinced the hope that he would be able to insulate his foreign policy agenda from the ongoing political turmoil. Cioroianu said he hoped for an early meeting with the Secretary, either on the margins of the Oslo NATO Ministerial or in a separate meeting in Washington. End Summary.
2. (C) Ambassador accompanied by DCM and Polcouns met with incoming Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu 4/11. FM Cioroianu prefaced the meeting by thanking Ambassador for the early opportunity to get acquainted, noting that his generation had "special feelings" towards the United States and the American people. He said he wanted to provide his assurances from the outset that he would do his "utmost" to reinforce Romania's close ties to the United States. He added that EU entry gave Romania even more value in promoting closer transatlantic dialogue. Cioroianu also expressed the hope for an early meeting with the Secretary of State, either on the margins of the Oslo NATO Ministerial, or perhaps during a separate visit to Washington.
3. (C) Going quickly through his checklist, Cioroianu acknowledged the impact of continued political turmoil on governance, noting that a "tough" problem had been continued unfilled senior vacancies, including the position of Romanian Ambassador in the United States. He said that his first priority would be to speed up the appointment process. The Foreign Minister also expressed appreciation for continued USG support for Romania's bid to host the 2008 NATO Summit, noting that the US role was "crucial". On Iraq, Cioroianu reported that he had discussed the matter formally with Prime Minister Tariceanu and informally with President Basescu, adding that a Romanian withdrawal plan and schedule would be made only after consultations with Allies including the US. Finally, Cioroianu mentioned the Visa Waiver Program, noting that the issue was an important priority and that Romania wanted to "work closely" with the USG to get a visa waiver in the future.
4. (C) Ambassador replied that he had enjoyed an excellent relationship with Cioroianu's predecessor and hoped to continue this in the future. He underscored that USG policy in Romania since the early nineties had been to build democratic institutions and to assist Romania's hopes to join NATO, the EU and other international institutions. He added that Romania has been one of our closest allies, and evinced the hope that certain foreign policy equities--including the bilateral relationship, NATO, and the transatlantic link--would be "walled off" from the ongoing political turmoil. In this respect, the USG appreciated the positive messages about the importance of the trans-Atlantic agenda from the President, Prime Minister, and opposition PSD chief Geoana on the anniversary of the April 4 signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. Ambassador also expressed appreciation for Romanian contributions to Coalition efforts in Iraq and to ISAF in Afghanistan.
5. (C) M Cioroianu also assured the Ambassador that Romani was "not in a hurry" to withdraw all forces fro Iraq. He said that he regretted the fact that he press commentary and seculation on the issue had preceded the actual bilateral discussions on the matter. (note: Cioroianu added as an aside that "perhaps Tariceanu had made a mistake by demanding the return of the troops last summer..") He concluded, "we'll find asolution together to this."
6. (C) When asked b Ambassador about his priorities going forward, ioroianu reiterated that finding a "good represetative" to fill the vacant Ambassadorial slot inWashington was his top priority. He added that despite the criticism about the new Tariceanu cabinet in the local press, the reshuffle should be seen as a signal that the Romanian government is "back in business." (note: he remarked subsequently that Romania had "lost 3 months" due to the political turmoil.) He said that he wanted to assure the Ambassador that there was "absolutely no change" in the fundamental policy direction of the new cabinet, and that the
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government would continue the reforms and anti-corruption agenda of its predecessor. Cioroianu added that while he regretted the bad relations between the President and Prime Minister, his desire was to ensure that foreign policy would remain insulated from the political debate.
7. (C) Comment: This was an initial get-acquainted meeting. We and our senior Foreign Ministry interlocutors had pressed for an early meeting, arguing that it was important that the Ambassador see the new Foreign Minister early on in his tenure for maximum impact. They have stressed informally that they have been impressed with Cioroianu who, while not a career diplomat, nevertheless has been a quick study with the right instincts, open to working closely with the career diplomatic staff in the Ministry. They have also already hinted that he has been so far a "steady" presence compared to his more mercurial predecessor. End Comment.
8. (SBU) PNL vice-president and Senator Adrian Cioroianu's nomination by Calin Popescu-Tariceanu to serve as Foreign Minister in a reshuffled cabinet was approved by Parliament on April 3, 2007. Cioroianu's previous nomination to the same post in early February was vetoed by President Basescu, providing further fuel for the ongoing war between the President and Prime Minister. President Basescu at that time expressed reservations regarding Cioroianu,s inexperience in foreign affairs and his concerns that he would not continue the foreign policy lines initiated by outgoing minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu."
9. (SBU) Cioroianu is also a relative newcomer to politics. He was recruited as a political advisor of then-PNL President Theodor Stolojan in August 2002. Cioroianu successfully ran for a seat in the Romanian Senate in November 2004. Between September 2005 and December 2006 he served as an observer to the European Parliament. Since January 2007 and before his appointment as FM, he served as a member of the European Parliament (he served on its Foreign Affairs Committee). In January Cioroianu was elected the second deputy leader of the Bureau of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the third largest group in the EP, of which the PNL is a member.
10. (SBU) While initially close to Theodor Stolojan, Cioroianu refused to switch parties to join the breakaway Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) afer Stolojan was expelled from the PNL in late 2006. A sign of Cioroianu's rising star in the PNL was his successful challenge against then-Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu for a Vice Presidency slot in the PNL in late 2006. Cioroianu's victory signaled Ungureanu's fall from grace (and his estrangement from Prime Minister Tariceanu) for leaning too closely to a pro-Basescu stance, including on the question of a continued Romanian troop presence in Iraq. Cioroianu was short listed twice for the Minister of Culture position (in December 2004 and in the Summer of 2005).
11. (SBU) Adrian Cioroianu is a historian by training, with a degree from the University of Bucharest (1993) and a PhD from the University of Laval, Quebec (2002). Cioroianu is an associate professor at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of History. He wrote books on Romanian communism and the late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. He is a columnist for Dilema Veche, an intellectual weekly journal established by Andrei Plesu, former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997-1999) and Presidential advisor (2005). He is also on the board of Sfera Politicii, a monthly political science magazine. Cioroianu is a regular guest on the cultural and political talk-show TV circuit. Cioroianu is divorced from his first wife with whom he has an 8-year old son. His current partner is the opera singer Alexandra Coman. He was born on January 5, 1967, in Craiova. Cioroianu has been a contact of the Embassy since 2005 and was nominated for--but did not avail himself of--an IV program grant in 2005. End Biographic Note.