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Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum 2009

Speakers:

  • Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council
  • Senator Chuck Hagel, Chairman, Atlantic Council
  • Mircea Geoana, President, Senate of Romania
  • Crin Antonescu, Vice President, Senate of Romania

October 1, 2009

FRED KEMPE:  Good morning.  It’s so nice to be here in Romania at a time of so little political excitement.

Dear guests, your excellencies, welcome to the inaugural Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum.  I’m Fred Kempe.  I’m president and CEO of the Atlantic Council.  My role this morning is to introduce and invite to the stage Atlantic Council Chairman and Forum Co-chair, Sen. Chuck Hagel, which I’ll do after I just introduce him briefly

When Gen. Jim Jones stepped down from his position as chairman of the Atlantic Council last year, to become national adviser to President Obama, we were immensely fortunate to attract as our new chairman one of America’s leading minds on foreign policy, and one of its most respect political figures, Chuck Hagel

He’s known as a clear thinker, as a visionary on foreign-policy issues and as a person who’s represented on both sides of the aisle on both sides of the Atlantic.  I think that’s important because of the context that this meeting takes place in, in the Romanian context, where you have a very healthy democratic political competition.  And we at the Atlantic Council are bipartisan.  We bring in all parties of the United States.  And our role is to bring together people of a common interest – but, perhaps, of different political persuasions – around the most important foreign-policy priorities

Sen. Hagel once said:  I took an oath of office to the Constitution; I didn’t take an oath of office to a party or a president.  Beyond that, he has a visionary role of America’s position – a role in a vastly different planet, at a time of great changes, and how we have to partner and be more creative as we go through this period of change

During his two terms in the U.S. Senate, he was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the intelligence committee.  He also served as chairman of the Senate Climate Change Observer Group; co-chair of the Congressional Commission on China; NATO observer group; and so on

If you go back in his history, I think it’s important to see that he’s a Vietnam veteran.  He was awarded many distinctions, including the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry; two Purple Hearts.  There’s a New Yorker article in September of 2008 that recounted his history.  And then, in his book, he writes a very moving part about his brother and himself on the ground, in the same unit, in Vietnam, with acts of heroism that aren’t talked about much – because, of course, Sen. Hagel is very humble about such things

Since then, he’s worn Purple Hearts also in the business world and the political world, where the injuries are, perhaps, a little bit less obvious – but, nevertheless, the field and the battlefields can be just as perilous

Today he is a distinguished professor of national governance at Georgetown; he’s a member of the secretary of defense’s Defense Policy Board; and he also serves on the advisory boards of Deutsche Bank and Corsair Capital

What a lot of people don’t know about Sen. Hagel, however, is that he’s also an author:  “America:  Our Next Chapter.”  In his review of the book, former U.N. Sec-Gen. Kofi Annan described Sen. Hagel as, quote, “a leader and passionate advocate of dialogue and multilateral engagement.  Chuck Hagel’s book describes, in clear terms, why the world needs enlightened American leadership.”

 

Because of the setting of this conference, I will quote from the very first page of his book, where Sen. Hagel quotes Abraham Lincoln – of course, one of the great historic leaders of America.  Quote:  “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.”

 

As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.  We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”  You could add:  And then we shall save the Black Sea-Caspian region for this conference; we can save the alliance – we can save all the things that are dear to us.  But it’s really a call to action and understanding how much the world has changed, and how much change that requires of us

With that, please join me in welcoming Sen. Hagel to the stage.  (Applause.)

 

CHUCK HAGEL:  Fred, thank you.  I am grateful not only to be here, but to be associated with Fred Kempe and his team – and, in particular, the Atlantic Council.  We are very appreciative of the hospitality here in Romania.  Today we will delve into some of the specific interconnects that bring all of the world together, and why this region is particularly important for all of us

I also want to thank our ambassador and his team, which I’ll have an opportunity to spend some time with him today and some of his leaders.  We’re very proud of our United States team here in Romania.  And to the ambassador, and those he works with at the embassy, thank you for your service

Also, thank you to the supporters – in particular, the sponsors of the Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum.  We, as always, are grateful for that support.  That support’s predicated on an understanding and an appreciation of, first, the relevancy of the Atlantic Council.  And, in particular, for this conference, the relevancy and importance of this region of the world.  And I don’t think anyone in the world today does not have some semblance of why this region is so important.  It is a crossroads of energy; of economics; of geopolitical influences; of national-security issues.  It all comes together right here

There are some other regions of the world where we could say the same.  But where this region is located, and the resources and the interests that are also located in this region, make it as important a region as any region in the world

I’m also grateful to see many friends from the Romanian private sector and the government – who, over the years, I’ve gotten to know when I had the privilege of serving in the Senate, and was one of the strongest advocates for Romanian NATO membership.  And even though the United States does not play in the European Union League, I was always, at least personally, very supportive of Romania joining the European Union

And on that count I want to also acknowledge the leadership that has been provided in this country over the last few years, over a difficult period, to bring Romania as far along, in every way, Romania has come

Now, I know we are gathered here today at a very exhilarating, exciting political time in Romania, as to a certain uncertainty about the current government’s situation, and who’s in and who’s out.  But we, in our own way, in the United States have those situations.  And as I noted to some of the senior officials of the government this morning, isn’t this a better alternative than the other alternative

And I think everyone would agree, when people have choices; when all people’s views can be represented – in a democratic society, using a democratic forum – and you make your point.  You put forward your best argument, and best policies, and then the people – the people – will then decide who they wish to lead their country, and which policies they have most confidence in

So I congratulate you all on that point.  And I think Fred’s reciting Abraham Lincoln’s quote – and I appreciate, very much, Fred hawking my book for me.  But Lincoln summed it up a long time ago pretty well, as to what the United States of America was going through, and I think it certainly applies to the world today.  And it isn’t just in Romania, or this part of Europe, or right on the edge of Eurasia – with so many resources here in play, and big decisions that will define, will define the world order over the next few years; will define relationships over the next few years; will define the future of Romania over the next few years.  That’s what is in play today

And, again, if we just isolate for a moment on the United States of America – we, too, are going through much of the same process.  Although we had a presidential election in November, and we settled that political issue, somewhat, for four years.  But, nonetheless, if you peer into our country, and our society, for a moment, and take a look at the debate going on in the United States on health care, some big decisions this administration’s going to have to make regarding Afghanistan; which will affect NATO; which will affect all our relationships in Europe, and in Central Asia and in the Middle East

The environmental issues that are crowding into decision-making, which we are all a part of – Copenhagen being the next big stop in December on this issue – as well as of us trying to work our way through the global economic crisis, it reminds us very clearly – all of us – that we live in a very interconnected world.  And, hence, as much as any other reason, we are here, at the Atlantic Council, for the next few days here is because of that.  That interconnectedness which anchors the common interests of all people, in all countries

Well, I look forward to being with you today, and I’ll try to pull together some cogent thoughts for tonight.  And I will not speak too long tonight, I’ve promised Fred.  But I am looking forward to seeing many of you in different meetings today, and listening to many of our speakers, who have committed their time, and their effort and their expertise to sharing with all of us what they think about our future.  And, yes, it’s obviously focused on energy and economics, and you can’t separate the two – nor can you separate the environment from energy and the economy.  So we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.  And, again, thank you for allowing the Atlantic Council to come here, and thank you for hosting us

Now, let me now move on to one of my more formal duties.  They don’t overload a chairman with too much – recognizing that, certainly, this one has limitations, so Fred’s very careful how much he asks me to do.  But it is a personal pleasure to have an opportunity to introduce an individual, to begin with this morning, that I’ve had years of contact and coordination with, beginning when he was the Romanian ambassador to the United States, and later on as the foreign minister

We collaborated on many things.  That was right in the middle of Romania joining NATO.  In fact, my wife was here in Romania a few years ago for about a week, and worked with orphanages and other areas of common interests for our two countries.  And she very much appreciated and enjoyed the week that she spent here, and made a lot of friends.  And she still stays in touch with a lot of Romanian friends

My son, who will be 17 years old this month, asked her, when she returned a few years ago, if she had met Dracula’s relatives.  She wasn’t sure, but she told him that she thought she had been to Dracula’s castle, wherever that might be.  He didn’t know, anyway.  But, nonetheless, those 16-year-olds – and then, when he was about 12 – focus on the more relevant things in life, like Dracula’s castle.  And we hope to bring him around, to get him to geometry and trigonometry, beyond his historical interests

So ladies and gentlemen, I, again, have the honor and personal privilege to begin the conference this morning with the introduction of the president of the Romanian Senate, my friend Mircea Geoana.  Mircea, nice to have you with us – thank you.  (Applause.)

 

MIRCEA GEOANA:  Thank you, Sen. Hagel.  I will do my best to further educate the American nation on Romanian history, and legends, true or false.  I have to say, in front of this audience, how much Romania owes our Euro-Atlantic and our democratic destiny to people like Chuck Hagel.  It was a huge fight to convince the American people; the American Senate; the American Congress; and the American administrations, the plural – that Romania deserves a place in our community of democratic nations

And I want to recognize officially, as an eyewitness of this common journey, the huge role that Chuck Hagel, and his generation of American leaders, has provided to us.  And let’s applaud this kind of leadership and wise people here in Bucharest.  (Applause.)

 

I’d like, also, to thank the Atlantic Council, an indispensable player in this trans-Atlantic dialogue.  It’s my pleasure to see good friends from my days as foreign minister:  Ana Palacio, the former foreign minister of Spain; Ana, you’re a dear friend and welcome to Bucharest.  Ambassador Dick Burt – we had kids in the same school in Washington, so we still have good memories of that school.  My wife is still sending auction items to raise money for that school because we owe so much to that place, where our children started their formal education

It’s my pleasure to welcome, also, Prime Minister Petre Roman, who led this country in a very difficult time almost 20 years ago – and, of course, to welcome the current, and the former, and the future former ministers that I see in this audience, Mr. Vidan and Vosganian.  Then, of course, to say, again, a warm welcome to the new American ambassador here.  You’re coming at a very interesting time in Romanian democracy.  And I’m convinced that you’ll be sending interesting cables back to Washington about the political evolutions in this country

I would also like to welcome with respect and recognize Mr. Crin Antonescu, the leader of the National Liberal Party.  He’s competing in this presidential race.  But I have to say that I recognize his political leadership, and I’m proud to share this podium today with him

We’re now talking about a–  And, by the way, Chuck – you’re invited for the inauguration after December 6th, so this will be fine.  So prepare your wife and your child for trigonometry in Bucharest in December

The topic we are discussing today is probably more relevant than ever.  I remember, in 2003, before the Rose Revolution in Georgia, we had a conference in Bucharest with the German Marshall Fund – with a friend and rival of the Atlantic Council – trying to put the Black Sea on the map of the American administration.  The same question seems to reemerge today, when leaders and intellectuals from Central Eastern Europe are somehow having a doubt if the new Obama administration will have the same focus, and the same strategic interest – and if it will have the same geopolitical relevance – as before

I do not share the concern of some intellectuals in Romania and in the region.  I’m a strong believer that the geopolitical relevance of our part of the world – of the greater Black Sea area; of the three seas, Adriatic, Black and Caspian seas – are, were and will be relevant as long as this planet will spin around.  Because this has been relevant since the Silk Road era, is relevant today, and will be relevant in the future

The question for leaders in Romania, and leaders outside of Romania:  How do we present our case into a tectonic shift, and a global realignment, that we are witnessing, and the financial crisis has triggered?  I’m absolutely convinced that, in the next years, a new balance will be reached.  And absolutely convinced that if we will present our case, and the Black Sea, as part of the Greater Middle East – and not only as an East-West issue – I think our case will be stronger; I think the sense of relevance will be reinforced; and I think the dividends of strategic, economic or energy nature will become fruits that we can also share

I believe the worst thing that can happen is for the Black Sea to continue to be a zero-sum-game area.  This is what happens, and what happened, irrespective of the global powers, original powers, in history.  The fight over the control of the mouth of the Danube; the control of the Black Sea; the access for Russian to southern seas – this is nothing new, and this will never end.  The question:  Can we find common ground, in a new energy coming from all the countries around the Black Sea, that can really find things that will be relevant, on a positive note, and not things that will be basically sacrificing, for the geopolitical interest, the chance of development for the whole region

In my personal view, the Republic of Moldova is not an Eastern European nation.  It is as much a South European nation as Romania, itself, is.  I also believe that Georgia is not a non-European country; I do not believe Azerbaijan is a non-European country; I do not believe Armenia is a non-European country.  I think the fact, if the geopolitical realities have carved the geographical map of this region, these nations are Asian-European nations.  They are countries that have contributed to the Judeo-Christian cradle that we share in the West.  So I believe that the destiny of these nations will be part of the greater family of European democracies.  And if we can do this not as a zero-sum game against Russia, but together with Russia, I think the whole region will be better off

I do not share the kind of Russiaphobia and anti-Russian historical feelings that are probably legitimate, from a historical standpoint, but are not, at this point, things that are useful.  I believe that engaging Russia in a pragmatic way – encouraging Europe to come with one single Russia strategy, not only one single energy strategy – will be something that we should do

And I believe when Hillary Clinton and the Russian foreign minister are pushing the reset button, this is not about a new sphere-of-influence conversation, but it’s about pragmatic engagement – something that the Clinton administration has called the “dual-track” strategy towards Russia.  Where you can really continue to enlarge the sphere of democracies, but, in the same time, engage Russia in a constructive dialogue

I believe that this meeting today in Bucharest is part of that effort to reposition – and, if you want, to repackage – the Black Sea area, and the Black Sea region, into the new global context that has shifted since the global crisis.  I believe that our part of Europe will become a huge gate of entry – not only for energy, but also for commercial and other goods.  Not only from the East, but also from China – from Central Asia; the Caucasus – towards Europe

To give you one example that the American ambassador knows, because he has some roots in Barilla (ph), which is a city on the Danube.  In 1911, this city on the Danube was making 21 percent of Romanian exports.  I anticipate that this part of Romania – from the Constance’s Black Sea port all the way to this part of the mouth of the Danube – this will become one of the most dynamic platforms and bridges of cooperation in the whole of Romania; in the whole, this part of Europe

Of course, when you speak about energy, you can also say that, for the countries that have too much energy, and resources of energy, this is sometimes a curse in disguise.  This is sometimes a curse in disguise.  And I believe that the overdependence – from Russia to other countries that are rich in energy resources, and not diversify their economy; and use energy only as a strategic tool – is a self-defeating policy – because there’s a limit to what you can do only with this tool

Having money from natural gas and oil is an obligation to invest into a more competitive economy; it’s an obligation to diversify; it’s an obligation to transform this into a tool of cooperation, and not of political pressure.  And when these countries – not only from the East, but also from the Gulf area and from the Middle East – will understand that this is the true path towards progress and modernization, at that point in time energy will be less a geopolitical instrument.  Will be more what it should be – an instrument of cooperation and common good

Sen. Hagel has mentioned, also, some things that will happen this year.  A new NATO strategic concept is now reshaping the philosophy of the alliance.  I encourage Romanian leaders to engage into this effort.  I am tired, and I’m sick and tired, of waiting in Bucharest decisions made elsewhere.  We are part of NATO and the EU, and should be part of the decision-making process – and influence, intellectually and politically, these decisions, according to the specific interests of our region and of my national interest

There is a huge discussion in Europe about the way forward.  This is an impasse that the intellectual and political elite in Europe have at this point in time, because in the next years we have to decide which way Europe will go.  Will Europe embrace Turkey and really go into a greater free-trade area?  Eventually even engaging Russia, or even NAFTA, in that respect.  Or Europe will become something that some European countries believe – a more united political body.  And, thus, enlargement will be put on hold, and energy and creativity will be put into a new direction for Europe, as an adaptation to our stature in the 21st century

In Copenhagen this year, there will be a decisive summit on climate change.  I think that, for decision-makers in Romania, and also people in government, we are not taking serious into account the obligations that all have to fulfill, as part of the EU membership.  I encourage this conference to look not only into the energy roots and diversification of energy – and energy conservation; electricity and gas distribution; and the future of privatization in this sector; and what will happening to the remaining state-controlled energy sector in Romania – but I would also encourage this conference to look into something which is probably even more important than this:  How can we really make sure that our obligations to revamp our generation sector – energy-generation sector – in Romania will be met in time?  There are billions of euros that are needed in order to modernize our energy sector as it stands today

And I strongly encourage – we have here a former, and a current and a former, ministers of the economy, or industry and finance.  I would encourage a transpartisan conversation about an energy strategy for Romania that will be set once for good.  The time when the change of a government, and a change of a president, is shifting such strategic sectors – sometimes the very frivolous interest of the day – should stop in this country.  You have an obligation – and we have an obligation – as political leaders to give the Romanian energy sector a clear direction.  Not for one year; not for two years; not for five years – but at least for 20 years to come

We are speaking of a national strategy on energy.  And it’s probably nicely written, and it’s on the Web site of the ministry of the economy.  But this is really met in practice.  Do we appropriate money as we put national budgets?  Do we really engage with our foreign investors – and our friends in America, Europe and in the East – to fulfill that issue?  Are we really putting everything together to transform Romania into an efficient and modern economy?  Do we want to continue to be the last country in Europe in terms of energy efficiency?  Can we afford to have such an economy, which is noncompetitive?  The answer is no – the answer is no, the answer is no

So I think that this conference – and I’ll put an end to my intervention – has three important meanings.  First, the beginning of a new lobby in Washington, about the new-new relevance of the Black Sea.  This region is relevant to any American administration.  This region is relevant to any EU commissioner, president of a commission or European parliament.  This region was, is and will always be relevant.  And I think this role – of really putting the subject back on the agenda of top decision-makers in America and Europe – is something that this conference should do, and is doing.  And I want to thank you for putting this conference together

The second issue is to bring business together – not only from the West, but also from the East.  Business and economic cooperation are always good tools when they are done on commercial and pragmatic foundations.  And I encourage this conference to bring people together from the East and from the West – from the North and from the South – and just try to find new business opportunities in a moment of financial and economic distress

And, thirdly, something which is probably even more important, to be a catalyzer for Romanian decision-makers – from government and private sector; from professional and industry – to really come together, as one nation, and put forward a strategy that will be fulfilled.  And follow through by this government, the next government in the next few days, and the new government after two months’ presidential race – and that government, and the next government and the next government around

So if the three important missions of the Atlantic Council conference in Bucharest on the Black Sea, Energy and Economic Cooperation will be met, I will buy a drink for you, Fred; and I will give you champagne in my inauguration, Chuck Hagel and your family.  Thank you so much, and have a very, very successful conference.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

 

MR. HAGEL:  Mircea, thank you

Let me now introduce the vice president of the Romanian Senate.  Crin Antonescu has had a very engaging and important rise in politics in Romania.  As you all know, he began as a professor – professor of history; served as a member of the Romanian parliament; served in the cabinet as minister of youth and sport; vice-president of the Liberal Party; Liberal Party parliamentary group leader – among other responsibilities.  He moved from the Chamber of Deputies in 2008 to the Senate; and earlier this year was elected as the new president and leader of the extraordinary Congress of PNL; and is a candidate for president of Romania

We are very grateful that he would take time today to share with us some of his thoughts on the issue that has brought us all together, and any other comments he would like to make.  I know he sees the future, political future, of Romania a little different than Mircea, and he will have an opportunity to express those differences.  But, in any event, we are very delighted, and proud, to present to you the current vice-president of the Romanian Senate, Mr. Antonescu.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

 

CRIN ANTONESCU:  Thank you, Senator.  Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, dear friends, we are, once again, speaking about energy, and speaking about Black Sea.  And, as a historian, I would like to start by pointing out a few facts which may seem somewhat odd in the context of such a pragmatic conference as that organized today by the Atlantic Council in Bucharest

The Black Sea is the youngest sea of the planet, having formed about a thousand years ago when the waters of the Mediterranean spilled over the Bosporus and filled a wide depression previously covered by a sweetwater lake.  The memory of the prehistoric cataclysm from the end of the last Ice Age has probably given birth to the biblical legend of the Flood

Civilization soon thrived around these shores, and the Black Sea has become a space of cultural dialogue.  The very name it bore in antiquity, Pontus Euxinus, has an interesting and significant story.  The Persians call it akshana (ph), meaning “black” or “North Sea.”  The Greeks heard the name and understood it as aksanos (ph) – which, in their own language, means “unfriendly towards the foreigners.”  Their profitable experiences in colonizing the area, human, convinced them to change the name to elsinus (ph), meaning “friendly towards foreigners.”

 

So many were the Greek colonies around it that the Black Sea could be called “Greek Lake.”  Later, the Romans spread their influence in the area, having conquered the southern and the western shores – and having, for a very long time, in the Bosporan kingdom of Crimea a trusted friend and ally

The Black Sea served as an interface of communication at the dawn of the Christian Era, when the apostle Andrew preached in Thomas and other cities.  It was on the same shores in Crimea that Vladimir the Great had received the baptism, after which the Orthodox Christian faith has spread towards Kiev and Moscow

During the Middle Ages, the Black Sea was a center of international trade, linking Genoa and Venice to the Mongol and Turkic tribe of Central Asia – while representing, at the same time, the end point of the long journey westwards of the Tartar tribes.  Whose descendants now live in large number in Crimea and Dobruja.  For 300 years, between the 15th and the 18th century, European traders called the Black Sea a Turkish lake

Peter’s first dream, of conquering Constantinople, was directly tied to his other dream, of making the Black Sea a Russian lake.  The evolution was stopped by the Crimean War, in which England, France and the Kingdom of Sardinia have put an end to the Russian expansion in the West

The Black Sea is being described today by strategic analysts as a sort of Bermuda Triangle, placed at the fringes of the security spaces of Europe, Eurasia and the Near East, without representing a central area for any of the above.  Under the influence of, and partly within, European community, the unity of the nations bordering the Black Sea is slowly, but steadily, being restored

The Black Sea is becoming, once again, a space open to trade and cultural dialogue.  After being along the ages a Greek lake – a Roman, Christian, Turkish or Russian lake – it now fulfills its destiny of being a European lake

Today we are bridging this stretch of salty water with the edge of commercial ties between East and West, which link the raw materials of the East with the consumers in the West.  At the same time, the model of the modern democracy is crossing this bridge, towards the nations of the Caucasus and Central Asia.  Romania can only hope to become one of the pillars of support for this construction.  This forum is the living proof that this European lake may represent a place for cooperation and prosperity

I believe, beyond these references to past and present, it is necessary to identify the economic, diplomatic and cultural means to transform the project of the common Black Sea into a tangible reality.  So far, there have been numerous initiatives and forms of cooperation.  One of these, the Black Sea Synergy, has been put forward by the German presidency of the European Union.  If one takes into consideration all the projects, from the organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation to this latest initiative of the EU, one could hardly deem any of them as truly successful, or as having truly met its objectives

Some might provide a long list of reasons why the Black Sea may not become a common space, from religious and cultural differences to the lingering memory left behind by the contorted history of the Balkans.  And, finally, to the fact that various countries belong nowadays to different economic and security organizations

From this point of view, I would like to salute the Atlantic Council’s initiatives to organize this conference, focusing on the issue of energy.  Indeed, the preoccupation for energy security may represent a fertile land for debating cooperation, which may offer renewed strength to the Black Sea identity

Romania may play an important part in drawing the lines of policy in the field of energy security, for seeing its interests in an intelligent manner, while fully respecting the legitimate interests of its partners.  Thank you very much, and I wish you a fully successful debate.  (Applause.)

 

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you very, very much to both of you, Mircea Geoana and Crin Antonescu, for those important comments.  The whole notion of a transpartisan approach to politics – I’m going to pick up that word.  I think it’s wonderful.  The idea of not a Turkish lake, not a Russian lake, not a Greek lake – but a European lake that brings people together, instead of separates them

The three challenges to us – a new-new relevance to the Black Sea in Washington – that’s what we’ve established with our Eurasia Energy Center; that’s the purpose.  This next panel will be about bringing business together

I do, as I’m saying this – if the panelists for the next panel could please start working their way to the stage and take their seats, we’ll get started with the next panel right away.  Because this is really the key, is:  How do we bring business together with policymakers, in an informal way, so that all of their ideas – if you could start making your way up, the panelists for the next panel – to get everyone together

And then, finally, a catalyst for Romanian decision-making.  And this is the third leg, Mr. Geoana, because we have opened our first foreign office in Romania.  And so we’re well on our way to take your challenge to fulfill these three goals

And so we’ll get started right away with this next panel.  It’ll just take us one, two minutes to get rolling.

Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, D.C.

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