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Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu welcomed on Friday U.S. Ambassador to Bucharest Adrian Zuckerman. The two officials talked about bilateral cooperation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement regarding the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Open Skies Treaty, the recent developments in the Republic of Moldova, the Visa Waiver programme, Romania's accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the outlooks for the Three Seas Initiative.

Ambassador Zuckerman handed Minister Aurescu official information through which the U.S. announced the decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, to come into force in six months since the date of the announcement, a release of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) sent to AGERPRES on Friday informs.

"The head of the Romanian diplomacy voiced appreciation for the frequent bilateral consultations on the Open Skies Treaty, which still holds its value, and underscored that Romania firmly supporting the Treaty and contributes with approved equipment at the allied level and not only for observation missions. He highlighted that Romania shares the concern of the U.S., a strategic partner and an extremely important ally within NATO, in terms of the selective implementation which the Russian Federation had regarding the provisions of the Open Skies Treaty, especially, by imposing some artificial limits of implementation, which do not correspond to the spirit of the Treaty," the MAE release shows.

According to Aurescu, Romania "understands" the standpoint of the U.S. to withdraw from this Treaty, and our country will further put in efforts so that, at the level of the Alliance, there is a "unitary" and "firm" approach, "which can determine Russia to return to its full implementation within the next six months, at the end of which the notification of the U.S. withdrawal from the Treaty will take legal effect."

Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman conveyed thanks on behalf of the U.S. for Romania's reaction and approach and proposed that Bucharest and Washington maintain a close dialogue on this topic in the next period, the MAE shows.

Aurescu and Zuckerman also discussed the outlooks of strengthening the Romania-U.S. Strategic Partnership in its entirety and voiced satisfaction for the "very good" cooperation, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of mutual support in view of repatriating citizens, the U.S. support for the transport and purchase of medical equipment for Romania, the aid of 800 thousand US dollars for combating the pandemic. Minister Bogdan Aurescu brought to mind that Romania will send in the coming period a military delegation made up of medical personnel to the U.S., in the context of the pandemic.

In respect to Romania's access to the Visa Waiver Programme, Ambassador Zuckerman gave assurances that "a special" attention is paid to this common objective and he is analysing "in-depth" the ways through which the authorities of the two countries can collaborate to obtain concrete results, the MAE informs.

Minister Bogdan Aurescu, who tackled the visa topic on the agenda of talks, underscored that it has a special impact on the Romanian citizens, including in terms of people-to-people contacts, investment and economic opportunities, educational exchanges and not only.

Moreover, the Foreign Affairs Minister highlighted that Romania's accession to the OECD continues to be a priority goal of the Government in Bucharest, Ambassador Zuckerman assuring that the U.S. "fully" endorses this goal, the release also shows.

"Furthermore, also reviewed were the positive development registered at the level of the Three Seas Initiative, including in the context of the latest announcement made by the U.S. regarding the allocation of 1 billion US dollars for investments in energy projects within the Initiative, as well as the recent decision of some countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Hungary to join the Investment Fund of the Three Seas Initiative, in which Romania is already participating. It was agreed to continue the close coordination between Romania and the U.S. in effectively preparing the results of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Tallin, in October, including in terms of developing the Investment Fund and the implementation of priority interconnectivity projects of the Initiative," the quoted source mentions.

Minister Bogdan Aurescu and Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman exchanged views on the developments in the Republic of Moldova and agreed for the U.S. and Romania to continue the coordination in terms of encouraging the authorities in Chisinau to intensify, "consistently and credibly," the reforms needed to get closer to the EU and to fully observe the democratic and the rule of law principles.

"The head of the Romanian diplomacy showed that Romania will further watch with priority the observance of the legitimate interests and expectations of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, the European journey being the only one able to ensure the economic and social development of the Republic of Moldova to the direct benefit of its citizens." AGERPRES (RO - author: Claudia Stanescu, editor: Mihai Simionescu; EN - author: Rodica State, editor: Cristina Zaharia)

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