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Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Yesterday, The Chigaco Times Newspaper published a letter from Ion Iliescu, president of Romania, in the Letters from the Editors section.
Personnaly, I have a strong doubt regarding the veridicity of the actual sender of this letter, but I will publish it anyways and I invite you to comment on it.
( source: http://www.suntimes.com/output/letters/cst-edt-vox20a.html )
More than a decade ago, our part of the world was called Eastern Europe not merely because of our geography but because Cold War divisions left us on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain. I have consistently been one of the strongest advocates of redefining our regional identity. Our cultural heritage -- derived from ancient Greece and Rome -- is European.
During the second half of the 20th century, the Soviet occupation cruelly diverted the Central European countries from their natural evolution. Thankfully, Central Europe has now returned to its original European destiny. Through two successive enlargement rounds, full NATO membership has resolved the security dilemma that plagued our region for generations. The path to a total integration into the European Union is set with 10 new members and two more scheduled to join in 2007.
Two years ago in Bucharest's Revolution Square, President George W. Bush noted Romanians and other Central Europeans value freedom because we lived without it. Our commitment to promoting democracy is borne of our gratitude for the chance of being able to practice it.
We have a special sympathy for Americans of Central European origin, especially in the Midwest. Chicago, Illinois and its neighboring states have become homes for many Romanians who help enhance the ties between our countries. On our side, we are taking responsibilities as strategic allies and growing business partners. Romania has committed 500 troops to Afghanistan and 800 military personnel in Iraq. As a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Romania co-sponsored Resolution 1546, which returned full sovereignty to an independent Iraq. Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana was the first foreign government official to visit Baghdad after the restoration of sovereignty to the new Iraqi government. Prime Minister Adrian Nastase presided over a U.N. special session on post-conflict reconstruction. In a few days, I will be addressing the U.N. General Assembly, stressing our support for the Iraqi interim authorities aimed at paving the way to democratic elections and ensuring security and stability of Iraq.
Economically, my country offers significant business opportunities, and Romanian-U.S. economic relations have steadily expanded. After years of recession, Romania's economy has grown since 2000 at 5 percent per year. Inflation has eased substantially and investments are expanding. Today, more than 70 percent of the gross domestic product is provided by the private sector, compared with only 1 percent in 1989. This success has resulted in renewed interest of U.S. companies in Romania's investment opportunities. I am honored to be able to address the World Trade Center Association of Chicago to reiterate our desire for a strong American economic presence in Romania as an essential component of our overall relationship.
The Midwest symbolizes American values, ethnic diversity and economic dynamism. Central Europe and Romania are springboards for promoting democracy, successful and robust free-market economies and full of promising business opportunities. We have a natural partnership with the heartland of America in expanding freedom, increasing prosperity and meeting the challenges of the 21st century together.
president of Romania
Posted by Mihai Botea : 9/21/2004 04:25:00 pm
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