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October 23, 2021

Deveselu missile shield inauguration ceremony’s guest list continues to generate polemics

*Ponta to American ambassador: How beautiful diplomacy is, you can say absolutely anything and nobody minds


Ex-Premier Victor Ponta published on Facebook on Saturday a picture showing empty seats at the ceremony that inaugurated the missile defence shield at Deveselu, thus reacting to the statements made by U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm, according to which Ponta was not invited at the event because there were no available seats.

“Wow, how beautiful diplomacy is, you can say absolutely anything and nobody minds. It’s nice to invite at an inauguration ONLY people that had nothing to do with the Project and NONE of those who worked on it since 2011. But, as you can see in the picture, no seats were available!” Ponta wrote on Facebook.

The former Premier went even further, suggesting that the U.S. ambassador and Premier Dacian Ciolos had no place being at the event because they took office after the project had been finalised. Moreover, Ponta derided American officials for taking Bucharest for Budapest (mix-up made by U.S. Deputy Defence Secretary Robert O. Work).

“The truth is that Mr. Ambassador Klemm is not wrong – he recently arrived in Bucharest (or Budapest, same thing), the Shield was ready, basically at the inauguration just like Ciolos. Fools were us, all those who thought that our good deed will go unpunished!” the PSD lawmaker concluded.

Referring to the displeasure expressed by certain politicians who were not invited at the inauguration of the missile shield in Deveselu, U.S. ambassador Hans Klemm stated on Friday that it would have been “ideal” to be able to invite everyone involved in this project, but there were insufficient seats for that.

“Yesterday’s ceremony in Deveselu was organised by the U.S. Navy, but in close consultation with the Embassy and also with the Ministry of Defence. It was truly a historic day for Romania, for the United State but also for NATO. We honestly had a limited number of persons we could invite to the ceremony. Unfortunately, we were very limited in the number of persons we could invite at the ceremony. And it was an honour to have Speaker Zgonea alongside us,” Hans Klemm stated at the Palace of Parliament, after a meeting with Zgonea.


Ponta: “I hope Ciolos does not have the illness called ‘Iohannitis’”


In fact, ex-Premier Victor Ponta harshly criticised current Premier Dacian Ciolos on Thursday evening for not having invited him at the event and for allegedly taking credit for the missile shield at Deveselu, accusing him of “rudeness” for not inviting those who contributed to the project – former ministers Mircea Dusa, Titus Corlatean and Bogdan Aurescu.

“It’s the first time when it’s no longer the case to forgive Dacian Ciolos, because in this case the rudeness is too obvious (and I thought it wasn’t a trait of his)! Bearing in mind the fact that he and his Government have absolutely no credit in relation to the project at Deveselu, but also the fact that our NATO and American allies know very well with whom they took decisions and worked since 2011, it would have been absolutely normal to invite at the inauguration those who really contributed to this!!! And I hope Mr. Ciolos does not suffer from an ailment called “Iohannitis” – namely to take credit for what others are doing just because you are completely incapable of doing something,” Ponta wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

In his turn too, PSD President Liviu Dragnea criticised the fact that he was not invited. Likewise, although he received an invitation, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu accused the Government and the US Embassy that through the ceremony’s organising and schedule they showed “disregard for the Senate’s position,” and decided not to attend the event.

U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm reacted to the Senate Speaker’s statements on Friday, after the latter boycotted the inauguration of the defensive missile shield at Deveselu.

“I didn’t talk with Mr. Tariceanu yesterday (Thursday – editor’s note). I saw the statement he made yesterday afternoon, he was invited and I regret he chose not to come,” U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm stated.

According to a press release, Calin Popescu Tariceanu cancelled his participation at the event because the way it was organised “flagrantly disregards the Senate’s position in the constitutional order of Romania.” “Noting that the organising and schedule of the events handled by the Government and the U.S. Embassy flagrantly disregards the Senate’s position in the constitutional order of Romania, as well as Parliament’s role in drafting and legislating the foreign and defence policy, I took the decision, with regret, to cancel my participation at today’s festivities,” the communiqué adds.

Since President Klaus Iohannis was not present at the ceremony either, the highest Romanian official present was Speaker of the Lower Chamber Valeriu Zgonea.


Ciolos: U.S., host of the ceremony at Deveselu. I asked the Defence Ministry to offer clarifications


Premier Dacian Ciolos pointed out that the U.S. Embassy hosted the ceremony at Deveselu and the guest list was drafted by the diplomatic representation in consultation with the Defence Ministry, a ministry that the Head of Government asked to clarify the conditions in which the event was organised.

On Thursday evening, the Prime Minister answered, on his Facebook page, the accusations concerning the guest list at the missile shield inauguration ceremony.

“Let’s be clear: it’s a project undertaken by the U.S., with the support of Romania, which will benefit from this defence system alongside other allied states in the region. Several political leaders holding state offices, servicemen, experts, all of whom deserve congratulations and thanks for this project, essential for Romania’s security, have brought their contribution – in many cases crucial – to it since 2008. I personally know the merit of several of them, but I dare not mention them in order to avoid making the mistake of leaving someone out. Personally, I have no merit in this project, and my presence at Deveselu today was determined by the state office I temporarily hold. In my speech at the inauguration ceremony today, I thanked all those who contributed to this project, without daring to name them because of the aforementioned reasons,” Ciolos explained.

He pointed out that “the invitations at the ceremony as well as their content had the U.S. Embassy as the main actor (U.S. being the owner of this defence facility at Deveselu), of course in consultation with the Defence Ministry and the other government institutions with prerogatives in this domain.”


Dragnea reproaches Ciolos: Traian Basescu or Victor Ponta should have been invited at Deveselu


Social Democrat Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea expressed his disappointment with the fact that Premier Dacian Ciolos did not respect the minimum protocol rules and did not invite at Deveselu the real artisans of the project – Traian Basescu and Victor Ponta.

“There is on our part disappointment with Premier Dacian Ciolos for the fact that we saw that this illness is contagious, I am talking about selective invitations made by some people who temporarily hold offices. Still, had there been a certain level of good faith, those who effectively managed this project and succeeded to complete it, showing that Romania can keep her word, should have been invited even if they wouldn’t have come. Leaving political stripes, tensions and disputes aside, Traian Basescu, Premier Victor Ponta and three ministers involved in this project should have been invited – the Defence Minister for all that military infrastructure meant; the Development Minister, me and the time, who coordinated all that civil works meant, water and sewerage, water treatment plants, access roads; and the Foreign Minister,” PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Thursday in Pitesti.





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