President Klaus Iohannis professed being impressed on Thursday, by the “Mihail Kogalniceanu” Air Base, stressing that Romanians should be proud of it.
“I am very pleased that I could come to Kogalniceanu Base today and stay a little longer with the people here. I am very impressed, I had the opportunity to meet with the Romanian professionals, but I also met with the American professionals, British professionals, pilots, military personnel, civilian staff, and I was very, very pleasantly impressed that everyone has a very, very good level of training, they are real professionals and I think it is very important for the Romanians to have these people here, bringing a significant contribution to our security,” Iohannis said.
“As a general message, I can say that we can be glad and proud to have this base at Kogalniceanu,” the head of the state underlined.
He added that he has also been assured of the very good collaboration of the Romanian servicemen with the American and the British ones.
“I asked them how the Romanians collaborate with the Americans and the British and invariably, the answer was the same: we work very, very well, we are very well received by our Romanian colleagues, we are very well integrated, which has greatly pleased me and made me feel proud of our people who have managed to give our partners, our allies, the feeling that they come in a team of professionals and integrate very well,” the President said.
President Iohannis was welcomed at the “Mihail Kogalniceanu” Administrative Centre of Constanta, with military honours.
After the military ceremony he met Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel.
“We have discussed a great deal of things, most of them related to the Black Sea region, the Eastern Flank, and I wanted to find out from General Pavel how the military perceive the whole complex. We discussed these issues at length and we also talked about money, more precisely, Mr. General wanted to say that he greatly appreciates Romania’s stance of allocating 2 percent of the GDP for Defence,” said the head of the state, who also met with the Romanian and English pilots who ensure the mission of the Strengthened Air Police.
Also attending the event were Chief of General Staff, General Nicolae Ciuca, and Presidential Advisor Ion Oprisor.
Iohannis on Patriot: It’s an issue a bit more difficult to discuss before the general public, but we’ve launched a principled request toward the American side
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday, at the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base, when asked whether the Romanian armed forces will purchase Patriot air defence systems, that “this is an issue a bit more difficult to discuss before the general public,” pointing out that the Romanian state has launched “a principled request toward the American side” and that a note has already been published on the U.S. State Department website, a note that is set to be approved in order for the negotiations to start.
The Head of State met Romanian, American and British soldiers at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base, stating he was “pleasantly impressed” with their training level.
“They are real professionals and I believe it’s very important for Romanians to have these people here, who bring an important contribution to our security. I was glad that what I thought about the people working at the Kogalniceanu base has been confirmed, and I’ve asked them how are Romanians collaborating with the Americans and the British, and the answers were invariably the same: we collaborate very, very well, we are warmly welcomed by our Romanian colleagues, we are very well integrated. Something that gladdened me very much and of course made me feel proud of our people, who managed to give our partners, our allies, the feeling that they come into a team of professionals,” Iohannis stated.
He pointed out that there is a lot of equipment at Kogalniceanu and he had the chance to see a Patriot unit. “We can be glad for and proud of having this military base in Kogalniceanu,” the Head of State added.
Asked whether the armed forces will purchase Patriot systems, the Head of State said: “It’s an issue a bit more difficult to discuss before the general public, but we’ve launched a principled request toward the American side, and I believe this note that is due to be approved was published yesterday on the U.S. State Department’s website. Then the negotiations will start and when we have a clear result we’ll publicly reveal it.”
Likewise, asked for his opinion on statements according to which Romania should not pay so much for the Patriot system, Iohannis said: “I have no intention to answer them, these are military, technical issues and the military men will formulate a point of view when needed.”
Iohannis pointed out he also talked with both the previous Grindeanu Government and the current Government about the expenditure of the money that was earmarked for defence but has been left unused so far.
“They promised me they will do everything necessary to start the procurements in due time, I’m waiting for this to happen,” Klaus Iohannis added.
He also said he talked with NATO Military Committee Chairman Petr Pavel about the money for defence, the foreign official telling him he appreciates Romania’s decision to earmark 2 percent of GDP for defence.
“We’ve also talked about money, more precisely the General wanted to tell me he greatly appreciates Romania’s decision to earmark a budget of 2 percent for defence,” the Head of State pointed out.
On the other hand, asked whether the purchase of the four corvettes will be dropped, Iohannis said that is for the MoD to decide.
“We’ll have to find this out from the MoD. How they will eventually use the money. You probably remember that this strategic procurement plan had been initially placed on CSAT’s order of the day a week ago, it didn’t meet all criteria and was withdrawn, but they will return and then we’ll very precisely know what the plans are for procurements of this type,” Iohannis stated.
Asked whether procuring the corvettes is necessary, the President answered: “All these programmes were considered necessary and Parliament’s approval was also asked, and was received.”