Premier Victor Pona and President Traian Basescu continued lashing out at each other over the opportunity of summoning the Supreme Defence Council in order to analyse the difficult situation in Ukraine.
The premier thus keeps his firm position on the need to hold a CSAT meeting, saying that, although there is no actual danger or direct threat at Romania, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are in peril, so Romanian authorities must have an updated strategy. He announced that he will receive today an analysis of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Internal Affairs “of the latest evolutions, data and information on the situation in Ukraine, and an update of Romania’s strategy in this matter”.
(…) “We are going to forward this integrated document of the governmental structures to the President of Romania and to the other national security structures,’ Ponta said, quoted by Agerpres, in a press statement issued at the Ministry of National Defence. He added that the only institution authorized to gather this information is CSAT, and he asserted that all the Council members should be briefed about the ‘updated’ situation in Ukraine. ‘(…) as a Vice President of the CSAT, I think that based on these documents, updated analyses provided both by the governmental structure and by the other institutions of the Romanian state to the CSAT, all the members of the CSAT should be informed on the strategy to be adopted by Romania in the near future, in its capacity of NATO member, of NATO partner and ally, and as a country located here next to (the Republic of) Moldova and Ukraine,’ the Premier explained. He called all those holding decision positions’ to adopt ‘a responsible public position on a matter of such importance.
Yet, Prime Minister Victor Ponta assured on Monday that Romanian citizens and Romania as a country are in no danger whatsoever, in the context of the situation in Ukraine. ‘There is no direct threat to Romanian citizens or to Romania,’ Ponta told the press conference. He mentioned, nevertheless, that the Republic of Moldova is currently ‘in a dangerous situation.’
The Prime Minister also dismissed as groundless the public debate over calling up reservists and drafting youth. ‘This was and is out of question, we do not need that,’ Ponta claimed.
The previous day, Ponta said that, if President Basescu will not call a meeting of CSAT dedicated to analysing the situation in Ukraine, then he will call it himself, in his position as vice-president of the Council, together with the other members of this structure. He added that the latest CSAT session was on March 27: “One month and a half passed since then, and something bad happens every day in Ukraine, the conflict moves closer to our borders, Odessa is little more than 100 km away, and if you are a responsible and serious leader of Romania you cannot say that we discussed in March. What was in March has nothing to do with what happens now (…)”. Under legal provisions, CSAT can be called by – and at the initiative of – at least one third of its members.
CSAT is no debate club, Basescu says
Despite the premier’s statements, the president seems unflinching. The head of state appealed Sunday evening on B1 TV to Ponta not to make CSAT look ridiculous, as it is no “club for debates” and asked him to submit a strategy for the situation of Ukraine if he wants to summon the Council. He mentioned that he finds it hard to understand the motivations of the PM’s statements on the need for a strategy related to the situation in Ukraine, which should be discussed in the meeting of CSAT.
“He talks for the sake of talking. I wait for him to submit this strategy, so it can be analysed by all the members of CSAT, then we can call the CSAT. For now, the premier has not submitted any strategy and, according to regulations, one cannot call the CSAT apart for exceptional situations, if you do not have the documents ready and distributed in view of being studied before the meeting,” Basescu said.
The president accused the premier of mistaking CSAT for the meetings of the Government, where “Rusanu comes with Chitoiu, with an ordinance, sign it without approvals, without informing the other members of the Government (allusion to the Ordinance that reduced from 11 to 9 the number of members of the Board of the Financial Supervisory Authority – ASF).”
“It would have been elegant for him to call me and tell me: president, I have the following metaphysical troubles,” and added that the premier is doing electoral campaign. “I fear that we can tense the population and that he will introduce this topic of national security in an electoral debate. I will not allow this, no matter how aggressive the premier will be, in bringing such extremely sensitive topics, where each word of a dignitary is taken into consideration,” Basescu mentioned.
ON R. of Moldova, Transnistria
On the other hand, the president said that the Republic of Moldova will go through a period of provocations generated from Transnistria, and Bucharest informed the allies with this regard. The head of state added that the statements of PM Victor Ponta (about defending R. Moldova) are “simply shocking”. “When I say that Romania will respect the neutrality of R. Moldova it means we will respect it because this is provided by the Constitution of R. Moldova. (…) It is a neutral state. One cannot send the army there. If they will ever want to unite with Romania, this will have to be their vote, but one does not send the army there and Romania will never cross the eastern border with its army,” Basescu stressed.