Rose Gottemoeller, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, present yesterday in Bucharest, explained that the funds for the Deveselu base are already included in the US budget.
The United States is fully committed to complete the Deveselu base project on time, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller stated yesterday.“We appreciate the fact that Romania agreed to host phase two (of the European Phased Adaptive Approach – EPAA, editor’s note) at the Deveselu base and we want to collaborate closely in order to finish the construction on time,” Gottemoeller stated. The Under Secretary of State also met President Basescu yesterday. The interceptor missiles located at the Deveselu base as part of Phase II of the US missile shield in Europe should become operational in 2015. The concern regarding the Deveselu base appeared after the US administration decided to adjust its missile defence system in Europe by giving up phase 4 of the project. That phase consisted of introducing certain interceptors. In exchange, the US will develop missile defence measures on US soil as a result of threats from North Korea. “The money for the base is already included in the budget and we want the construction project to move on. I believe we will collaborate closely in the following years in order for this base to become operational,” Rose Gottemoeller stated for Mediafax. She also stated that in her opinion “there is no unpredictability in what concerns Romania,” a country that has been “a very important partner” for the United States. President Traian Basescu stated in February that “there is only one risk concerning Deveselu, namely if it is noted that Romania is an unpredictable state.” Asked if any kind of “unpredictability” might influence the plans concerning Deveselu, Gottemoeller answered: “I don’t see why that would happen. We have included financial resources in the national budget and the defence budget in support of the project.” She underscored that the funds have already been allocated and are available, consequently “there is no unpredictability in what concerns Romania.” “You were a very important partner and we consider it positive to collaborate with you,” Gottemoeller stated. Asked whether missile defence cooperation could be a catalyst to include Romania in the Visa Waiver programme, the US Under Secretary of State refused any comments. “I work as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. My responsibilities concern security related aspects. It’s very inadequate for me to comment on the Visa Waiver programme. But I can state that the good relations we have with Romania are obvious through the wide spectrum of our cooperation – economically, politically and security wise,” Gottemoeller stated, expressing her hope for continued cooperation. Alongside Poland, Bulgaria and Cyprus, Romania is among the few European states that are not included in the Visa Waiver programme that allows travel to the US for up to 90 days without tourist visa, the main obstacle being the high refusal rate for Romanian citizens.
The rate stood at 17 per cent in 2012, down from 22.4 per cent in 2011. The refusal rate remains the main obstacle when it comes to including Romania in the programme, considering that the maximum rate admitted by the American legislation currently in force is 3 per cent.Rose Gottemoeller also met Defence Minister Mircea Dusa yesterday, the issues tackled, apart from the Deveselu project, including the situation of Romanian soldiers in Afghanistan and the procurement of the multirole fighter. According to a communiqué issued on Monday by the Defence Ministry, the US Under Secretary of State reaffirmed the United States of America’s support in all partnerships with our country, including the process of withdrawing Romanian troops from Afghanistan and thanked in her turn for Romania’s involvement in the missile shield project.