Romania should once again reaffirm its strategic part in the region


Conference held in Bucharest on Romania’s profile inside NATO
10 years after its accession.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta says the events having occurred in Crimea betray a serious regional insecurity risk, pointing to the importance of NATO in this context. ‘It is obvious that what has happened in Ukraine, particularly in Crimea, has waked up a large part of the European community and NATO members to a reality which we nonetheless believed to be changed for a long time, namely that there is a serious insecurity risk in the region, that all conflicts which we would prefer to forget – in Georgia, Transdnestria and other parts of the region – are potential instability epicentres, and that in fact there is nothing sure about the region’s security. NATO is once again more important now than at any other time in the past years. The members of the transatlantic community need a strategy and to adjust to what has happened and what it is about to happen in the period immediately ahead,’ Ponta told a conference on Wednesday at Parliament Place on Romania’s profile inside NATO 10 years after its accession.
He also underscored the need at this time for the EU and the US to work together.
‘I believe that all the misunderstandings between the US and Europe will rapidly vanish now and a new strategy for the two sides of the Atlantic working together will be developed at a high pace, and I mean here economic and trade cooperation,’ said Ponta.
He added that the crisis in this region is warning the world about it, while NATO and the EU should provide clear membership prospects to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. He argued that Romania should once again reaffirm its strategic part in the region, act like a border country in a region that is very hot, underscoring why Romania has decided to be a part of the missile defence system, to acquire multirole aircraft, and to increase the budget of the Defence Ministry in 2013-2014. ‘I believe Romania has benefited a great deal, fundamentally, from its 10 years of NATO membership and I think we can do more than we have already done,’ said Ponta.
Butcher: Romania provides a missile defence capacity vital for NATO
The charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Bucharest, Duane Butcher, said in the same conference that Romania provides a missile defence capacity that is vital for NATO and emphasised that Romanian officers are members of NATO crews that were on surveillance missions after the crisis in Crimea. “(…) Thanks to Romania’s contributions, the whole Alliance is stronger. We are lucky to have you as members of the Alliance,” Duane Butcher said. The US diplomat also referred to the missile defence system at Deveselu, assuring that the antimissile defence project enjoys financing and will become operational in 2015, in line with the calendar, Referring to Ukraine, Butcher reiterated the fact that USA condemns the “aggressive actions” of Russia in Crimea and, if necessary, will impose new sanctions against Moscow. “Romania is at the forefront of all these. But Romania is not alone: we and 26 other countries stand by you. The United States of America honours the obligation imposed by Article 5 of the NATO Treaty to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our allies,” the charge d’affairs of the US Embassy concluded.
In his turn, SIE Director Teodor Melescanu said in the same conference that Bucharest benefited from the accession to NATO, but the Alliance, too, can learn from Romania at least two lessons: the capacity to adapt on the fly and the internalisation of security needs. Former president Ion Iliescu appreciated that Romania demonstrated that it is not only a consumer of security, but also a provider of security. The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea said that NATO must take a firm stance in solving the conflicts near its borders, while PSD senator Mircea Geoana, ex-minister of Foreign Affairs, considers that we must expect Russia to attempt the federalisation of Ukraine, R. of Moldova and Georgia.

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