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May 16, 2021

Mission not over, President Iohannis tells troops in Afghanistan

President Klaus Iohannis met on Sunday Romanian troops in the theatre of operations in Afghanistan and told them their mission is not over, as Romania is also a security provider, the Presidential  Administration announced in a press release.

“I am very glad of being with you, alongside my wife, today, when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, the most important day of Christianity, a day that symbolizes light and hope, peace and confidence in salvation. The authentic Romanian atmosphere you created here, 5,000 kilometres away from our country, really moves me. I assure you that on this holiday, many Romanians back home, not just your relatives and friends or colleagues, direct more than ever their thoughts and appreciation to you, who represent us with pride and honour, outside our country’s borders,” Iohannis told the troops.

He added that Afghans need the presence of Romanian troops, whose mission represents Romania’s firm response to NATO’s requests.

“Why do we celebrate the [Orthodox] Holy Easter here? We Christians are taught at early ages to help those who need us. The Afghans need your presence here. You, those in the theatre [of operations], best know the field reality, the risks and problems of 2016 Afghanistan. You know very well that the Afghanistan Mission is not over. Your presence in this theatre of operations represents Romania’s firm response to the request of the North Atlantic Alliance to ensure security and stabilize Afghanistan. For the Alliance, Afghanistan is the main combat front against international terrorism. Afghanistan’s reconstruction is a lengthy effort assumed by the international community. But you know as well that this whole international effort, including your efforts, produces results. There is an internal political process in progress; the direction of this country is essentially the right one. Thus, we must carry on this support,” the President said.

“We should remember one of the major premises based on which we have joined NATO and then the EU: Romania is a provider, not just a beneficiary of security. For 15 years, through your efforts, we have been a security provider, and we will keep being one. We should not forget that. We know that you participate in very important operations, with high difficulty levels; that you are our representatives abroad; and that you carry out with much dedication the missions entrusted to you, providing an example worth following both by your contemporary comrades and by the future generations; and thus you deserve our full respect and appreciation. Romania’s well-defined place in the world, the respect and credibility it enjoys today in front of our foreign partners are to a great extent the result of your work and dedication – you, the military who, participating in many actions under the aegis of international organizations, have proven that our country is a trustworthy ally and a partner capable of carrying out all the missions it gets,” Iohannis added.

He emphasized that the NATO Summit in Warsaw will also address Afghanistan, but the real stake for Romania is a consolidated Allied presence, especially on the west coast of the Black Sea, as the situation in its vicinity requires help from the country’s allies. This, in exchange, would allow Romania to help on an international level. The difficult tasks of further reforming the Army and upgrading its equipment, and also the living standard of the troops, however, come after the Summit.

The President also discussed with Brigadier General, training, assistance and counseling commander for South Afghanistan, with other soldiers; he inquired about their condition and celebrated the Orthodox Easter with them.

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