DEFENCE DIPLOMACY

Foreign Minister Aurescu welcomes US official Rose, underscores importance of Romania-US strategic partnership

Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Thursday welcomed visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, a former negotiator of the agreement between Romania and the US on the deployment of a ballistic missile defence system.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) says in a press statement that the two officials highlighted the importance of the bilateral project subsumed to the political, military and security dimensions of the strategic partnership between Romania and the US to deploy to the Deveselu base in Romania of elements of the US European Phased Adaptive Approach (US EPAA).

Aurescu mentioned the importance of the strategic partnership between Romania and the US, highlighting the significance of commissioning the Deveselu facility, saying that the incoming NATO summit meeting in Warsaw will have to mark a time of reference in the progress of the NATO ballistic missile defence system.

The US official reconfirmed US commitment to the full implementation of this strategic project, adding that its materialisation is a significant contribution to the security of Romania, the US and NATO.

Rose is also quoted as saying that when the missile defence facility at Deveselu becomes operational, along with the commissioning of four Aegis ships deployed in Spain, the protection coverage against ballistic threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area will increase.

Rose also confirmed that the successful finalisation of negotiations with Iran on the nuclear file will in no way affect the developments in ballistic missile defence, given that the Iranian ballistic programme continues to be a threat.

The two officials reaffirmed the exclusively defensive nature of the system, showing that the use of such capabilities is in line with the provisions in the UN Charter and international law as legitimate defence.

Aurescu reiterated that any threat or use of force against the countries joining in the ballistic missile defence system is inacceptable and runs contrary to the fundamental international law principle that forbids the threat or use of force.

Also discussed at the meeting were the latest security developments in the Black Sea, with Aurescu underscoring the importance of the US staying focused on the region in order to maximise cooperation opportunities and reduce the impact of risk factors.

Coming up in their conversation were also the latest developments in Syria, with the two underscoring the excellent cooperation between Romania and the US in the area of arms control.

Aurescu mentioned the excellent outcome of his meeting in New York with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, as well as of the meeting in Washington of Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis with US Vice-President Joe Biden.

Also discussed were the events for the near future: a meeting of the task force in charge with implementing the Joint Declaration of the Strategic Partnership for the 21st century between Romania and the US; the AMRO mission this November and Aurescu’s scheduled visit to Washington, says MAE.


“Missile defence shield, purely defensive; non-state actors likely to use missiles”

Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said Thursday that some state and non-state actors, some of which are very active in Syria and Iraq, would not hesitate to use ballistic technology, “irrespective of the consequences,” in case they can get their hands on it, underscoring that the ballistic missile shield at the Romanian military facility of Deveselu is purely defensive.

“We are witnessing increased interest on the part of other state and non-state actors that want to get ballistic technology. Such means could be used to project force, to threat or just to put pressure. Let us imagine what would happen if such technology were acquired by non-state actors that are very active today in Syria or Iraq. If such instance were true, such actors would undoubtedly not hesitate to use the ballistic missiles, irrespective of the consequences of their action, as they did not hesitate to use chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq,” Aurescu told a debate on ballistic missile defence hosted by the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE).

On the other hand, the Romanian chief diplomat said that although he had special commendation for the closure of the Iranian file, this solution has nothing to do with the Iranian ballistic programme, “which continues to develop.”

As far as Russia’s position on the NATO missile defence system is concerned, Aurescu mentioned that the development of defensive capabilities against ballistic missiles was performed transparently and the system will be used in line with the provisions of the UN Charter for legitimate defence. Aurescu also reiterated that the interceptors deployed to Romania are non-nuclear and their type cannot be changed. He explained that the interceptors destroy hostile missiles by impact and they have no explosive charge, while their speed allows them to intercept the “sophisticated” intercontinental ballistic missile owned by Russia.

“I think it is important for us to communicate transparently that NATO security and stability are the objectives of the missile defence system, that the system does not mean confrontation, but that we want to protect our nations, forces and territories, and that we adhere to the UN Charter and international law when doing so,” Aurescu concluded.

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