If Russia undermines the elections in Ukraine, it must be applied stronger sanctions, visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said, yesterday, during a joint press conference with President Traian Basescu at the Cotroceni Palace.
The US Vice President Joe Biden stated that one of the main reasons for his visit to Romania is so that he can affirm from Romanian soil that the USA will honor article five of the NATO treaty, adding that it is a sacred obligation. ‘(…) have no doubt regarding that. No NATO ally stands alone, we protect each other plain and simple. Period,’ said Biden, quoted by Agerpres, emphasizing that the US appreciates the alliance with Romania. The American official said that it was a pleasure to return to Romania, voicing amazement at the progress the country has made.
“Your country has risen from tyranny to join the free countries of the world, the EU and the most powerful alliance in the history of humankind, NATO,” he pointed out. In this context, Biden stated that he had tried since 1999 to aid the entry of Romania to NATO. “If it were up to me, it would’ve been the 15th anniversary. I tried to get you in faster,” he said, added that at that time he had high hopes for Romania as an ally and that those hopes have been confirmed.
“Romanians were by our side in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq. (…) Almost 1,000 Romanian troops are continuing their service in Afghanistan, all full of bravery, without reservation on the battlefield (…).
I want to reaffirm that we are on the right path and that we will open the missile defence system site at Deveselu and I want to encourage Romania to continue its efforts to raise its defence budget to 2 percent of the GDP, as you have supplemented this year. It is a step forward for Romania and it is also a step forward for NATO,” said the US Vice President.
If Russia undermines Ukraine elections, let us apply it stronger sanctions
According to Biden, the European states, and not only, should create a positive climate in order for Ukraine’s citizens to be able to freely vote at the May 25 elections: “We appreciate the action taken by Ukraine’s Government, the measures they have adopted in the east and south included, as regards the constitutional reform. (…) If Russia undermines the elections in Ukraine, we must be determined to apply stronger sanctions on Russia and re-invest even strongly in NATO”. He said that he spoke with President Basescu about ‘the continuous efforts’ of the United States and NATO raise the U.S. military air and land presence in Central and Eastern Europe.
A day before, Biden said that Russia’s aggression in Crimea reminds one why the NATO is necessary, added that Moscow violated the fundamental principle that Europe’s borders must not be changed with the force of arms. He added that if Russia’s action meant to destabilize Ukraine continued, high costs would be imposed on Russia.
Fight against corruption is mere patriotism
U.S. Vice President said he appreciates Romanian President efforts to protect the rule of law state in Romania and added the fight against corruption is not only a matter of good governance, it is ‘mere’ patriotism. “It is, in fact, another form of tyranny and the fight against corruption is not only a matter of good governance, it is mere patriotism. Mr President, (…) we appreciate your personal efforts to consolidate and protect the rule of law state here, in Romania. It is important for your economy, for your democracy and particularly for your freedom. Above all it is important for the lives of the citizens”.
The U.S. vice president stressed the ‘alliance’ between Romania and the United States is very strong ‘to a great extent’ thanks to Basescu. In this context, Biden declared he wanted to tell the president personally that he will miss him, as he knows that Basescu’s term ends before his own. He also congratulated Romania for the fight against corruption and urged that the judicial institutions be free from political influence.
Basescu: Strategic partnership with the U.S. – third political achievement after the 1989 Revolution
President Traian said yesterday that after Romania’s NATO and EU accession, the strategic partnership for the 21st century with the U.S. is our country’s third political achievement after the 1989 Revolution. The head of the state hailed the firm commitment of the U.S. to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.
Basescu added that the prompt reaction of the United States of America at the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict is proof that the U.S. keep their word, an attitude Washington requests from Romania too, for the rule of law to be fully accomplished. According to Basescu, he and visiting U.S. Vice President discussed about the need to strengthen the rule of law ‘as a prerequisite for advancement towards achieving the Strategic Partnership with the U.S. at full capacity.’ Talks also focused on the vulnerabilities created at the Black Sea and the subjects of the upcoming NATO summit.
The two high officials also briefly surveyed the very strong increase in U.S. investments in Romania, which, according to the Romanian head of state, created thousands of jobs.
The idea of the Romania-US strategic partnership must be reaffirmed, Ponta says
The present moment is one in which the idea of a stable and lasting strategic partnership between Romania and the US must be reaffirmed, and Romanians must have the sentiment that the United States consider Romania as a reliable and respected partner, Premier Victor Ponta affirmed in a joint press conference with the US Vice-President, after talks at the Government. He mentioned that the presence of VP Joe Biden in Bucharest confirms this fundamental idea. The previous day, Ponta said on Antena 3 that what Romania expects from the U.S. is the guarantee of its territorial security, but also energy independence assurances against Russia.
On the other hand, Ponta said yesterday that all Romanians going to the United States contribute to the development of the US. According to him, Joe Biden had a very clear support position in favour of lifting the visas for the Romanian citizens wanting to travel to the US and said that it was up to the Romanian authorities to persuade the Republican majority in the US Congress: ‘From now on, it is up to us, to Romania, to also persuade the Republican majority in the Congress for the necessary legislative amendment to pass through an agreement between Democrats and Republicans, so that Romanians can deservedly and justly travel without visas, same as many European citizens.’
He added that during the discussions with the US Vice President he reiterated the importance that the US, the EU and Romania should continue to grant to the Republic of Moldova’s pro-European and pro-democratic path. The Romanian Prime Minister also said he reassured the US Vice President that ‘this year and in the coming years Romania will remain for the US a ‘reliable and respected partner’.
In his turn, Biden said that Romania can become the key connection point for energy markets from the Black Sea to Central and Eastern Asia, provided that it modernizes its specific infrastructure. National security and energy security are inseparable in this part of the world and the European energy market must be safe, diverse and interconnected, Biden said during a joint press statement delivered with Prime Minister Victor Ponta. He stressed that the United States are ready to help Romania develop its oil transport pipelines
Chevron, always better than Gazprom
After the press conference made at Victoria Palace, Ponta said, in a phone-in statement to Romania TV, that he had discussed with visiting US Vice-President the exploitation of shale gas and told him that in Romania, US company Chevron is more desirable than Russia’s Gazprom. ‘Yet, strategically speaking, Romania’s capacity of having its own natural gas production meeting the national demand and Moldova’s demand is very important. I told Vice-President Biden how I managed to convince most of my interlocutors that Chevron is always better than Gazprom,’ Ponta told.
Asked whether he also addressed tax exemptions extended to the companies in the field, Ponta said tax exemptions are not that interesting to companies as transparency and predictability are: ‘We discussed with State Secretary for Commerce investment in energy and other US investment in Romania at a technical level. We have a roadmap and a gain in transparency and predictability. That is what interest them the post, not necessarily smaller or higher taxes, but how predictable they are. A system should be kept for 15-20 years, and we surely do that’.
FM Corlatean: Biden’s visit, important political signal of support for Romania
The visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Romania is a very important political signal of support for our country, for a faithful ally, a strategic partner of the United States, amid difficult times at NATO’s eastern borders, Romania’s Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean told TVR public station on Tuesday evening. He pointed out that the Alliance is undergoing a process of redefining its military capabilities in the region. ‘We are undergoing an important process of redefining the military capabilities of the North Atlantic Alliance in this region of Europe, given the dramatic developments concerning Ukraine and possible temptations targeting other regions, if I were to speak only of the Republic of Moldova and Transdnestria,’ the head of Romania diplomacy said.
Jill Biden visits Village Museum
Jill Biden, wife of US Vice President Joe Biden, visited the Dimitrie Gusti Village Museum in Bucharest, where she received a bracelet and a necklace as a gift from the President Basescu’s wife, Maria Basescu, and also an icon from a popular artisan.
Jill Biden accompanied Joe Biden in his official visit in Romania, on Tuesday and Wednesday. She presented Director of the Open Door Foundation Monica Boseff with an award from the US Department of State (DoS) acknowledging Boseff’s contribution to the combat against human trafficking, one of its ten such annual rewards. At a meeting with Romanian NGOs operating in the area of the combat against human trafficking, Jill Biden said their efforts do not go unnoticed and the activity of the assistance providers to victims manages to change lives.