U.S. Ambassador Poised to Leave For Romania: Hungarian American Coalition Attends Swearing in Ceremony

(Washington, D.C.) “The Romanian people have . . . the historic opportunity to achieve their aspirations. In that struggle, the United States is Romania’s friend and Romania’s partner,” said the Honorable James C. Rosapepe during his swearing in ceremony as U.S. Ambassador to Romania. The ceremony took place in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department on January 20, 1998. Ambassador Rosapepe concluded his remarks by thanking, among others, “the many Americans of Romanian heritage, including those of ethnic and religious minorities, who have shared with me their insights, their concerns, and their hopes and their love for Romania.”

Along with his wife, Sheilah Kast, Ambassador Rosapepe then greeted every guest. Among the numerous attendees were government officials, including Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas R. Pickering, several former U.S. ambassadors to Romania (John Davis, David Funderburke, Roger Kirk, and Al Moses), Romanian Ambassador Mircea Dan Geoana, Ambassador Rosapepe’s family, friends and former colleagues from the Maryland legislature, members of the Romanian American community and a large number of Hungarian Americans, including representatives of the Hungarian American Coalition.

Ambassador Rosapepe had earlier met with the Coalition’s leadership, including the organization’s chairman, Imre Bertalan, and president, Edith K. Lauer, board members Laszlo Hamos, Frank Kapitan, Frank Koszorus, Jr., Andrew Ludanyi, and Peter S. Ujvagi and member Beata Kovacs Nas. During the two hour long meeting, the Coalition raised a host of issues beginning with a brief historical background of the Hungarian minority in Romania; the need for Romania to continue to democratize and grant ethnic Hungarians Western style minority rights such as cultural autonomy and local self-government; and the necessity for Romania to remove minority-related restrictions from the education law, return illegally confiscated church properties and stem anti-Hungarian propaganda.

“Ambassador Rosapepe demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the vital issues affecting U.S./Romanian relations. He is eager to listen to ideas that transcend the conventional in the search for solutions to significant challenges. The United States is most fortunate to have Ambassador Rosapepe represent its foreign policy interests in Bucharest. We also hope that ethnic Hungarians will achieve their aspirations of being permitted to exercise the rights that have been long enjoyed by Western European minorities,” noted Coalition representatives after the meeting.

The Ambassador leaves for Bucharest to assume his new duties this week.

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