U.S. Ambassador to Romania Adrian Zuckerman is leaving his post after Donald Trump lost the presidential race to Joe Biden, Romania’s foreign ministry said.
Mr Zuckerman, a political appointee, earned a reputation as an outspoken critic of corruption, human trafficking and communist China during his one-year mandate to Romania.
He forcefully spoke out in favor of the rule of law, of transparency in business and of U.S.-Romanian relations during his short tenure.
The Romanian-born Zuckerman championed Romanians including the late Iancu Turcarman (the Romanian spelling of Zuckerman) a Romanian-Jewish survivor of the World War II pogrom in Iasi, and one of a handful of to survive the „death trains,” where Jews were herded on to train carriages in stifling heat and without water which resulted in hundreds of deaths.
The Ambassador attended Iancu Tucarman’s funeral in Bucharest Monday after he died aged 98 after catching the coronavirus. „Iancu, my friend, you have been a model and an inspiration for all of us. May you rest in peace. I will never forget you.”
In one of his last public speeches at Monday’s funeral, he said: “America and Romania share the same moral values and compass. We will achieve and preserve our democratic values and enforce the rule of law together.”
“We must not forget the atrocities of the Holocaust and the horrors that continue in some parts of the world today. Do not let the haters and the bigots allow those horrors to take a foothold in Romania.”
The 64-year-old Zuckerman actively supported center-right President Klaus Iohannis and the Liberal-led government in their efforts to bring about reforms and get rid of the last vestiges of communism which formally ended during the 1989 revolution.
In recent months, he promoted two major U.S projects in the region: a major highway and railroad linking the Polish port of Gdansk to the Black Sea port of Constanta, and a financing agreement worth $7 billion with U.S Exim Bank to build two nuclear reactors at its plant on the River Danube.
Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu who made the announcement about Mr. Zuckerman’s departure said he the two had met on Monday where the foreign minister thanked the outgoing ambassador for “his dynamic involvement and deepening of the bilateral Strategic Partnership,” and mentioned the rail link and defense cooperation.
Romania is one of the U.S. closest allies in Eastern Europe.
This year, the U.S. and Romania will mark 10 years since they signed the 21st century Strategic Partnership.