Romania

President Iohannis and U.S. congressmen discuss Romania's inclusion in Visa Waiver programme

President Klaus Iohannis had a series of meetings on Thursday with senators and members of the United States House of Representatives and they discussed about extending the Strategic Partnership between the two nations and also Romania's inclusion in the Visa Waiver programme.

The head of state met in the U.S. Congress with the President pro-tempore of the U.S. Senate, Orrin Hatch, senators Ron Johnson and Ben Cardin, as well as with members of the House of Representatives - Robert Aderholt, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski, Devin Nunes, Col. Paul Cook, Mike Rogers, Dana Rohrabacher, George Holding and Jim Banks - most of them members of the Romanian Caucus in the U.S. Congress, together with the co-president of the Group, Michael Turner.

According to a press release of the Presidential Administration, co-president Michael Turner handed President Klaus Iohannis a copy of the official political declaration held on Thursday in the House of Representatives' plenary, in which he welcomed the Romanian President in the U.S. capital city, emphasizing Romania's importance regionally and for the transatlantic security.

On the occasion of these meetings, President Iohannis reiterated his commitment to deepening and expanding the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the USA. He encouraged members of the U.S. Congress to make as many visits as possible to Romania.

"President Klaus Iohannis has underlined Romania's capacity to tangibly contribute to the strengthening of the transatlantic relation, stressing that a strong relationship between the U.S. and the EU is vital for the future of the democratic community and civilization," reads the press release.

The head of state also underlined the specific opportunities to expand the strategic partnership cooperation, especially on the economic level, taking into account the attractive investment environment in Romania, which last year had the highest economic growth in the EU, but also the possibility to stimulate Romanian business people's interest in the American market, which is increasingly manifest.

In this context, the President of Romania also highlighted the importance of making palpable progress towards Romania's inclusion in the Visa Waiver programme.

The Presidential Administration states that both the senators and the members of the House of Representatives have assured the President that they support the lifting of visas for Romania, showing that there is a bi-partisan working group that makes every effort to find solutions that, within the limits of current U.S. legislation, could simplify the accession process to this programme.

Discussions also focused on the military and security cooperation dimension of the Strategic Partnership and the commitment of both countries within NATO.

"President Klaus Iohannis has shown that Romania has become from a security beneficiary, a guarantor and security provider, who has the ability to strengthen its role as a strong U.S. partner in the region. He also pointed out that Romania and the states on the eastern flank of NATO rely on the U.S.'s continued commitment to the security and stability of the region," mentions the Presidential Administration.

Thus, the head of state hailed the White House's proposal to increase the budget of the European Insurance and Reinsurance Federation for the fiscal year 2018, pointing out the importance of this instrument, from the perspective of the Romanian state, for the further consolidation of the NATO Eastern flank and furthermore, he appealed to the congressmen present to support the adoption this increase.

In their turn, the U.S. congressmen have transmitted thankful and appreciative messages for Romania, deemed a true friend and a great partner, for its determination in pursuing the deepening of the Strategic Partnership with the U.S. and, notably, for our country's political and military contributions.

"The senators and members of the House of Representatives emphasized that Romania's role is essential in such a complex region as the one where Romania is situated, and showed their distinguished appreciation and gratitude for Romania's contribution to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, for hosting the anti-missile system in Deveselu, which they consider as our country's special contribution to the Euro-Atlantic security, as well as for the recent allocation of 2 percent of the GDP for defence expenditures," specifies the Presidential Administration.

According to the quoted source, senior officials also had an exchange of views on other files of interest to both sides, such as the security situation in the wider Black Sea region and the aggressive attitude of the Russian Federation, which requires a strong deterrent attitude, so as to facilitate an effective dialogue.

The meetings at the Congress provided the occasion for holding a ceremony at the United States Capitol in which President Klaus Iohannis decorated five members of the U.S. Congress with the National Order of the Star of Romania. Thus, Michael Turner, Co-Chair of the Romanian Caucus in the United States Congress, Devin Nunes, Chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Jackie Walorski and Robert Aderholt, members of the Romanian Caucus were decorated for their constant efforts made to support the deepening of the bilateral strategic partnership between Romania and the USA. 

Source: Romanian National News Agency AGERPRES

 

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