US Defense Secretary: Romania, a reliable US partner


Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel and Defence Minister Mircea Dusa toured USS Vella Gulf in the port of Constanta.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stated on Thursday in Constanta that Romania is a reliable US partner and that President Barack Obama highly appreciates Romania’s support and friendship. The Defense Secretary also stated that he appreciates the hospitality that the Romanian people have extended to American soldiers deployed in Romania at the Kogalniceanu Base. “It’s important both for them and for us as a country,” the American official pointed out, being quoted by Mediafax.
The US Defense Secretary invoked the very strong strategic partnership that exists between the two countries and stated that he appreciates, at the same time, Romania’s contribution to maintaining security in this region. “The United States appreciates Romania’s contribution to security in this region,” reminding in this context the involvement of Romanian soldiers in theaters of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Pentagon chief also stated that he and Romanian Defence Minister Mircea Dusa also discussed the situation in Ukraine. He pointed out that President Obama announced this week that he will ask Congress to earmark USD 1 bn in order to improve the capacity of the US and of allied forces in Europe, including for exercises and training.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived on Thursday in Constanta, being welcomed by Defence Minister Mircea Dusa, with whom he held talks onboard the Romanian Navy Joint Staff’s protocol ship. According to the official schedule, after their talks the two officials toured the USS Vella Gulf cruiser, the American warship that is conducting a port visit in Constanta.
In his turn, Defence Minister Mircea Dusa stated that the US has in Romania a serious partner it can rely on.
“You have in Romania a serious ally and partner, one on which the US and the North Atlantic Alliance can always rely,” he said.
Minister Dusa emphasized that the Romanian government has understood that investing in security is very important, that is why it has decided to hike the defense budget so that by 2016 the defence budget would reach 2 percent of GDP.
“I talked with Chuck Hagel that Romania has proven to be a serious and credible ally that has stood alongside its allies in the theaters of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflict areas of the world. I firmly expressed our openness to remaining committed in Afghanistan alongside our allies after 2014 too, as part of the Resolute Support mission,” Dusa said.
According to him, in what concerns bilateral cooperation a talking point was represented by the strategic partnership between the US and Romania, namely its consistent military component. “We analyzed the stage of development of the project in Deveselu and I informed my American counterpart that construction works on the missile shield facilities are on schedule, the provisions of the agreement related to this project being fulfilled in proportion of 80 per cent,” Mircea Dusa stated.
In what concerns the multimodal node and transit center in Kogalniceanu, the minister stated that this represents a good opportunity for joint military training activities to be efficient. “I talked with the US Defense Secretary that it is very important for Romania for the US to continue to offer support to the Romanian army’s process of modernization and equipping,” the minister said. According to Dusa, the two also talked about the “crisis” in Romania’s near abroad, and about the importance of supporting the Republic of Moldova’s stability and integrity.
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel also met Premier Victor Ponta at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base. Before the meeting Ponta had stated that the government will inform the American official that Romania fulfills its commitments, being a serious and important US ally and a factor of stability in the region.
Three US Senators to visit Romania, Bulgaria and Poland
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Senators John McCain and Ron Johnson have included Bulgaria in their Eastern European trip later this week, Novinite.com informs. They will also make a short stop in Romania and will attend the Wroclaw Global Forum in Poland, as the Bristol Press reports.
The three will meet representatives of Parliaments in all three countries and will reaffirm the US commitment to helping Eastern Europe in case of Russian aggression. Chris Murphy, who is to receive a Medal of Honor by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski for his work on the Visa Waiver Program, is quoted as saying that Ukraine will be a key issue during the trip. Senator McCain, who was a 2008 Republican presidential candidate, is known as one of the most outspoken critics of Russia and one of the staunchest supporters of military measures as a means to solve conflicts.

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