POLITICS
05/12/2014 07:50 am ET Updated Jul 12, 2014

Joe Biden To Visit Romania With Ukraine Crisis On The Agenda

NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images

* Basescu yet to disclose details of visit

* Private Romanian agency Mediafax says visit will be next week

* Romania a staunch supporter of sanctions against Russia

BUCHAREST, May 12 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will visit Romania, the NATO member state's President Traian Basescu said, without specifying a date.

Private news agency Mediafax said Biden would visit next week, with the crisis in Ukraine on the agenda.

A former Communist state which joined the European Union in 2007, Romania has been among the staunchest advocates of Western sanctions against Moscow after Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

"Biden ... offered an approximate date. We've agreed to simultaneously unveil statements regarding this visit," Basescu said in a televised interview with the online Romanian paper adevarul.ro.

He declined to specify the timing of the visit. The U.S. embassy in Bucharest declined to comment.

Basescu met U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deputy director Avril Haines earlier in the day in Bucharest "to discuss the situation in the region", Basescu's office said on its website.

Basescu has called for NATO to reposition its resources in the wake of Russia's military manoeuvres in recent months.

Bucharest is especially wary that its neighbour Moldova, a tiny state which shares a common language with Romania and has a Russian-speaking minority, could be next in Moscow's sights.

Since the standoff between Russia and the West began over Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria have taken part in navy drills in the Black Sea and hosted military exercises with U.S. troops.

President Barack Obama will visit Poland in June, adding the stop to a trip in which Russia's actions in Ukraine are expected to dominate his agenda. (Reporting by Radu Marinas; editing by Matthias Williams, John Stonestreet)

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