Romania–United States relations
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Romania – United States relations are bilateral relations between Romania and the United States. U.S.-Romanian diplomatic relations were formally established in 1880, with the appointment of Eugene Schuyler, a renowned and talented diplomat and historian, as the first American diplomatic representative to Romania. One hundred and twenty-five years after Schuyler first took up residence in Bucharest, the U.S.-Romanian bilateral relationship has matured into a strategic partnership that encompasses a wide range of political, military, economic and cultural ties. Particularly after Romania embraced democracy in the 1990s, U.S.-Romania relations broadened and deepened, leading to U.S. support for Romania’s entry into NATO and setting the stage for its full integration into Europe. Today, Romania is a strong ally of the United States, and the two countries work together to build democracy, fight terrorism and promote regional security and stability.
Cold and strained during the early post-war period, U.S. bilateral relations with Romania began to improve in the early 1960s with the signing of an agreement providing for partial settlement of American property claims. Cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges were initiated, and in 1964 the legations of both nations were promoted to full embassies.
Responding to General Secretary of the Communist Party Nicolae Ceaușescu's calculated distancing of Romania from Soviet foreign policy, particularly Romania's continued diplomatic relations with Israel and denunciation of the 1968 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, President Richard Nixon paid an official visit to Romania in August 1969. Despite political differences, high-level contacts continued between U.S. and Romanian leaders throughout the decade of the 1970s, culminating in the 1978 state visit to Washington by President and Mrs. Ceaușescu.
In 1972, a consular convention to facilitate protection of citizens and their property in both countries was signed. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) facilities were granted, and Romania became eligible for U.S. Export-Import Bank credits.
A trade agreement signed in April 1975 accorded most favored nation (MFN) status to Romania under section 402 of the Trade Reform Act of 1974 (the Jackson-Vanik amendment that links MFN to a country's performance on emigration). This status was renewed yearly after congressional review of a presidential determination that Romania was making progress toward freedom of emigration.
In the mid-1980s, criticism of Romania's deteriorating human rights record, particularly regarding mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities, spurred attempts by Congress to withdraw MFN status. In 1988, to preempt congressional action, Ceausescu renounced MFN treatment, calling Jackson-Vanik and other human rights requirements unacceptable interference in Romanian sovereignty.
After welcoming the revolution of December 1989 with a visit by Secretary of State Baker in February 1990, the U.S. Government expressed concern that opposition parties had faced discriminatory treatment in the May 1990 elections, when the National Salvation Front won a sweeping victory. The slow progress of subsequent political and economic reform increased that concern, and relations with Romania cooled sharply after the June 1990 intervention of the miners in University Square. Anxious to cultivate better relations with the U.S. and Europe, and disappointed at the poor results from its gradualist economic reform strategy, the Stolojan government undertook some economic reforms and conducted free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in September 1992. Encouraged by the conduct of local elections in February 1992, Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger paid a visit in May 1992. Congress restored MFN in November 1993 in recognition of Romania's progress in instituting political and economic reform. In 1996, the U.S. Congress voted to extend permanent MFN graduation to Romania.
As Romania's policies became unequivocally pro-Western, the United States moved to deepen relations. President Bill Clinton visited Bucharest in 1997. The two countries initiated cooperation on shared goals, including economic and political development, defense reform, and non-traditional threats (such as trans-border crime and non-proliferation).
Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Romania has been fully supportive of the U.S. in the Global War on Terror. Romania was part of the American-led "Coalition of the Willing" that supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Romania was invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in November 2002 and formally joined NATO on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, D.C. President George W. Bush helped commemorate Romania's NATO accession when he visited Bucharest in November 2002. On that occasion he congratulated the Romanian people on building democratic institutions and a market economy following the fall of communism. Romanian troops still serve alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan and were among the last to withdraw from Iraq.
In March 2005, President Traian Băsescu made his first official visit to Washington to meet with President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and other senior U.S. officials. In December 2005, Secretary Rice visited Bucharest to meet with President Băsescu and to sign a bilateral defense cooperation agreement that would allow for the joint use of Romanian military facilities by U.S. troops. The first proof of principle exercise took place at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base from August to October 2007.
Romania formally terminated its mission in Iraq on June 4, 2009 and pulled out its troops. On July 23, the last Romanian soldiers left Iraq. Three Romanian soldiers had been killed during their mission, and at least eight were wounded.
In December 2011, the Romanian Senate unanimously adopted the draft law ratifying the Romania-US agreement signed in September of the same year that would allow the establishment and operation of a US land-based ballistic missile defence system in Romania as part of NATO's efforts to build a continental missile shield.
In October 2013, the Romanian Government allowed the United States military to use a Romanian base for US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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