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Bush calls Romania a special ally of the US

Traian Băsescu, the president of Romania

Thursday, March 10, 2005

President Traian Băsescu of Romania today had a half-hour meeting with President George Bush in the White House, as well as a press conference in the Oval Office, as part of Băsescu's visit to the United States of America. During the press conference, Bush said that Romania was a "special ally" of the United States, as well as "a friend".

Bush said that he was impressed by Băsescu's high-profile fight against corruption, as well as his vision for consolidating democracy and prosperity in the Black Sea region, an area of strategic concern for the United States. He also acknowledged Romania's support and involvement in the democratisation project in Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.

Romania's strategic position in the Black Sea region

Since the 1999 NATO military intervention in Kosovo, Romania has been a key ally for the United States in Southeastern Europe. It has also been one of the most vocal supporters of the US-led invasion of Iraq, sending over 800 troops and planning to increase its contigent at a time when other countries are pulling out. Băsescu, which has been Romania's president since December 2004, has also signalled his intention of closer ties with the United States, as well as the United Kingdom, by envisioning the creation of a Bucharest-Washington-London axis of co-operation. Băsescu visited Tony Blair in London last month. Ties between the countries are expected to increase as the US moves its military bases from Germany to an area near the town of Constanţa, a Black Sea port in Romania.

Before Băsescu's arrival, Bruce Pitcairn Jackson, the president of Project for Transition Democracies, said that Romania and Bulgaria are the "success stories" of Southeastern Europe and that the two cuntries' EU accession, expected in 2007, will significantly increase the prospects of democracy in the Black Sea area.

Analysts also say that, due to the support of the United States and the United Kingdom, Romania will become the most powerful force in Southeastern Europe and a source of democracy and prosperity.

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