Basescu-Ponta consultations at Cotroceni Palace. The prime-minister considers that CSAT meeting is also needed taking into account the recent ‘provocative actions undertaken by officials of the Russian Federation’.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta asked President Traian Basescu to convene extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT). ‘(…)Considering that over a third of the members of the CSAT are members of the Government, seven in number, the Prime Minister and six ministers, we will forward to the President of Romania an official request to organize as soon as possible an extraordinary meeting of the CSAT to analyze the situation created, to make a clear unitary institutional decision and to ensure the coordination in functioning of the institutions of the Romanian state against challenges and the extremely complicated situation developing on Romania’s border,’ said Ponta following a discussion with ministers that are members of the CSAT.
The Prime Minister considers that the situation in Ukraine ‘has worsened in recent time’, taking into account the ‘illegitimate and illegal referendums that took place in different regions and the continuation of acts in defiance of Ukraine’s Constitution, international norms and international agreements’. ‘Furthermore, in this tense situation provocative actions have been undertaken by officials of the Russian Federation and situations with which the Romanian authorities are confronted and on which they must make decisions’, explained the head of the cabinet.
In turn, President Traian Basescu sent a letter to PM Victor Ponta inviting him to a consultation session yesterday evening to “clarify any misunderstandings the Government may have concerning Romania’s policy on foreign affairs, defence, and security.” “I recommend all Government members or at least the ministers in the Supreme Council of National Defence to take part in this meeting,” Traian Basescu wrote in his letter. Soon after that, PM Ponta told Mediafax news agency he would accept President Basescu’s invitation to go to the Cotroceni Palace, along with all the ministers who are in the Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT).
Asked about Romania’s Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) being convened in session to analyze the situation in Ukraine, Ponta told Romania TV on Monday evening that a document in this respect was to be filed on Tuesday. ‘We are getting the papers ready for tomorrow (Tuesday). President Basescu has said that I forgot about the topic having already been discussed by CSAT. The last CSAT meeting to date was on March 27, when the violent incidents and other violations in Ukraine were not out yet (…),’ said Ponta.
All of the same, the prime-minister elaborated on the Rogozin-Basescu dispute, saying that Russian Deputy Prime Minister’s flying over Romania, despite a ban, was a ‘well-thought provocation,’ but the response from Romania’s President Traian Basescu regarding Rogozin’s vodka consumption was ‘unwitting and irresponsible.’ ‘It is not usual for the deputy prime minister of a country to be denied access to another country. When there is such a situation, you must have an institutional response, not responding by invoking vodka. (…) While the action of Mr. Rogozin was a well-thought provocation, to test Romania and Ukraine’s responses, Basescu’s response was unwitting and irresponsible. Providing the response of a man just out of the pub is unspeakable. That is why I provided an institutional response,’ said Ponta.
Yet, he gave assurances that there is no danger looming over Romania right now.
‘I do not think it was a reckless gesture of Rogozin, but a slightly untenable provocation. You will not hear Russia’s prime minister or president say they have mandated Rogozin. It would have been best for Basescu to keep quiet. Romania has to support Moldova defend its sovereign rights. (…)As far as Romania is concerned, there is no risk of a conflict. I do not know who started up the story about the military draft and the reserve troops. That is not true; we do not draft anyone. There is no danger. The presence in Romania of the NATO secretary general and also of the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, is a clear message that they appreciate Romania for what it is doing and that they are with us. I had a phone conversation with Vice-President Biden a month ago, I think he talked with Basescu as well, and he asked me for our opinion. Their presence means nothing will happen to Romania,’ said Ponta.
In his turn, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean on Monday said the aircraft with Dmitry Rogozin aboard had fraudulently passed through Romania’s airspace. ‘That flight was a privately-operated one. Although it had an official delegation aboard and was a special one, the aircraft fraudulently passed through probably Bulgaria and Romania’s respective airspaces. There was a brief transit time through the Romanian airspace as the flight had been approved by the Eurocontrol, yet it was fraudulent because the questions asked by the relevant Bulgarian and Romanian authorities – ROMATSA and the Aeronautics Authority – got elusive answers. There was even an interruption in communication and a lie when they explicitly said Rogozin was not on the passenger list,’ Corlatean told Digi 24 private broadcaster.
Rogozin asks for harsh reaction to Ponta’s statements
However, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin also seemed displeased with Prime Minister Ponta’s statements concerning the possibility of sending military planes to intercept an official aircraft of the Russian Government. On Monday, he emphasized that such statements require a “very harsh” retort. “We have nothing more to discuss with them after all this. The Russian Foreign Affairs Minister will prepare and draft a response. Imposing visa sanctions on a group of people is one thing, but using the Air Force to force a plane carrying members of the Russian Government to land is beyond any joke (…). The response should be very harsh,” Rogozin stated for the Voice of Russia.
US State Department, EU Foreign Affairs Councils, NATO back Romania
Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, stated Monday that Rogozin’s messages to Romania are “inflammatory rhetoric” and pointed out that she is not aware of the United States’ involvement in denying the Russian Deputy Prime Minister access to Romanian airspace, Mediafax informs. The North Atlantic Alliance has also condemned Dmitry Rogozin’s statements about Romania, classifying them as “unacceptable.” ”The Russian authorities need to take a clear position as soon as possible,” NATO officials have stated according to Realitatea.net.
The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union also condemned in its Monday conclusions any declarations and visits similar to those made by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Romanian FM Titus Corlatean declared after the Council’s meeting in Brussels. The head of the Romanian diplomacy mentioned that he has asked the support and solidarity of EU member states in this respect, and he got a positive response. He also pointed out that the Romanian Foreign Ministry got no answer to its call to the Russian diplomacy to specify whether it assumes Rogozin’s assertions on using a strategic bomber, as Romania had closed its airspace to the Moscow official’s plane.