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March 23, 2023

At Chicago, NATO makes headway in setting up missile-defence system

Basescu said once Deveselu missile shield components become operational, part of Romania and SEE will be protected.

President Traian Basescu announced on Sunday, after taking part in the North Atlantic Council’s Summit in Chicago, that NATO has declared an interim missile defence capability. “This means that the Alliance has not yet attained its goal of protecting all European members states, but by the time the project in Deveselu is completed, Romania’s south and Europe’s south-east will be permanently protected by a missile shield system placed on warships ,” Basescu said.According to the President, the US, Spain, Poland and Romania were the promoters of this system as states that will host operational missile defence systems in several stages (the system in Romania will become operational in 2015). However, Basescu underlined that apart from the protection that the shield currently offers, more important is the “political signal and the will to declare this capability operational at this Summit.” He also pointed out that jobs will be created in Romania through the implementation of this project. “Tenders will be organized for building the missile shield in Deveselu and I hope Romanian companies will have priority (when it comes to signing contracts with the US Army for the construction and logistics of the base in Deveselu – editor’s note),” the President added. In their turn, referring to making the first phase of the missile shield operational, the NATO Heads of State and Heads of Government stated “the aim remains to provide the Alliance with a NATO operational Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) that can provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces, based on voluntary national contributions, including nationally funded interceptors and sensors, hosting arrangements, and on the expansion of the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) capability”.In what concerns Romania’s position towards Russia, Basescu reiterated that our country supports “total information transparency in order to create the conditions for trust.” On the other hand, Basescu stated that Romania rejects “any solution through which a non-NATO country could raise the issue of legitimacy or set conditions concerning our right to implement this system of protecting our citizens and Romania’s territory in a world that often has accents of insecurity.” Russia strongly criticized US-led missile shield project, considering it a threat to its security and warned that it would direct its missiles against Europe.

Solidarity with Afghanistan

Basescu pointed out that NATO countries have to show solidarity when it comes to taking part in this mission, stating that Romania will remain in Afghanistan until 2014 (when the pullout will be completed), the Romanian soldiers’ goal being to consolidate security in the Zabul area. The president refused to disclose the sum with which Romania will contribute to supporting Afghanistan starting in 2015, pointing out that he does not want to make a talking point out of this. Foreign Affairs Minister Andrei Marga nevertheless claims that the sum stands at USD 500,000. On the other hand, Basescu asked NATO to develop and ensure the capabilities to intervene in energy security issues, but also to intervene in fighting cyberterrorism. The Head of State also asked the North Atlantic Council for the transfer of military technology from NATO countries to non-NATO countries to be done only “in a controlled manner.”

Marga: one voice at Summit

Despite the disputes between the President and the Premier, Foreign Affairs Minister Andrei Marga stated that Romania “will have one voice” at the NATO Summit in Chicago. “From my point of view it was a normal flight, involving people dedicated directly to their tasks and missions,” Marga pointed out. Asked about Premier Ponta’s statements according to which President Basescu represents only himself at the NATO Summit, Marga pointed out that “things seem tense but in essence are not, however some things still have to be clarified.” 

President, criticized by Ponta and Antonescu

Although he claims President Basescu’s mandate at the NATO Summit in Chicago was constitutional, being supported by the government, including by the two ministers that accompanied him (Foreign Affairs Minister Andrei Marga and Defence Minister Corneliu Dobritoiu – editor’s note), Premier Victor Ponta refused yesterday to comment on the President’s “attitude.” The President stated on Saturday evening, while meeting members of the Romanian community in Chicago, that “the Head of State is the head of Romania’s foreign policy.” “I would definitely like Romania to have a President that would behave differently,” Ponta said, refusing to make any other comments. Somewhat more vehement, PNL President Crin Antonescu harshly criticized the President’s statement, pointing out that Romanians cannot be represented in this “boorish” manner. “The President’s attitude seems to me, once again, embarrassing, awkward, compromising for us all,” Antonescu said.



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