President George Bush met Tuesday with Romanian President Traian Basescu. They discussed regional and bilateral matters as well as the situation in the Middle East.
President Bush welcomed Mr. Basescu with praise for Romania's transition from a dictatorship to a free society.
"I told the president I am most impressed by his campaign to rid the government of corruption in Romania,” he said. “It is a steadfast, strong commitment. He believes in transparency and rule of law, and that is very important."
During a brief session with reporters, President Basescu noted this is his first trip to the United States. He said he brought a message from the Romanian people.
"I am happy to discuss with our ally, President Bush of the United States. I am happy to pass our message regarding democracy, regarding freedom, regarding development of our strategic partnership," he said.
Romania's president said he wants to work with the United States to help solve the problems facing countries in the Black Sea region. He said the goal is to create an area of stability.
President Bush called Romania a steadfast ally of freedom. He said they discussed the situation in neighboring Moldova, where elections were recently held, as well as the situation in the Middle East.
Romania has about 800 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has built strong ties with the United States in recent years. President Bush visited Bucharest in November 2002 and he remembered the large crowd that turned out to welcome him in a rainstorm.
"It was one of the most amazing moments of my presidency, to be speaking in the square, the very square where [the Romanian strongman] Ceausescu gave his last speech," Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Bush noted that a rainbow appeared in the sky that day. He called it a sign of the power of freedom.