The Patriot missile acquisition bill clear the Senate on Monday and reach the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea said Thursday.
“I have learned this evening, solving the bug mystery, I have seen that (…) a scenario was presented that I and [Senate Chairman] Mr Tariceanu have blocked the Patriot. Most of the Senators in the Defence Committee at that time attended an event at the invitation of a head of a major institution in Romania. The bill on Monday will be with them, where it will be up for a plenary vote session in the after-noon, while on Tuesday it will arrive at the Chamber of Deputies. There are no problems with that. I will talk tomorrow with them to ask them not to have another such event and go to work,” Dragnea said on Thursday at Baile Herculane.
Asked if the purchase of the Patriot missiles is in jeopardy, the PSD leader replied, “Let’s be serious.”
The opposition Save Romania Union (USR) has accused the PSD- Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) ruling coalition of trying to block the bill for the acquisition by Romania of the first Patriot missile system in the absence of its representatives on the Senate Defence Committee and thus “endangering” the strategic partnership with the US.
Regarding the presence in Bucharest of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said on Thursday he knew about it. The US official was welcomed by Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. “It was the government’s envoy to welcome him as a counterpart. Mr Tillerson is the US foreign minister,” added Tudose.
PNL’s Raetchi to the PSD senators: Liviu Dragnea’s personal interests are secondary, national security is essential. The Patriot system must be approved by the Senate on Monday
The Vice Chair of the Defense Committee, the Liberal MP Ovidiu Raetchi, told the PSD senators from the Defense Committee, one day before issuing their the opinion on the purchase of the Patriot missile system, that no personal interest of Liviu Dragnea cannot be above Romania’s national security and its international credibility, and that it is essential for this project to be approved on Monday, beyond any unofficial political instructions. PSD senators were absent at the beginning of this week, when the project had to be approved.
“Dear colleagues, your absence in group from the Tuesday meeting in which the Patriot project had to be approved has surprised and worried the public opinion in Romania. There was no credible and satisfactory explanation, given that this theme is a security priority, according to a national political agreement. The fact that the absence was registered only few hours after the appearance of an extremely serious case on Liviu Dragnea’s name raised legitimate questions, and blackmail was expressly mentioned in Media. In this context, in the day before a new meeting which cannot end with another fiasco, I wish to say, dear colleagues, that no personal interest of Liviu Dragnea cannot be above Romania’s national security and its international credibility. Any suggestion, even as discreet as possible, on blocking or delaying the modernization program of the Romanian Army, must be firmly rejected and publicly denounced” according to the PNL MP.
He also says that if the PSD leader chooses to ridicule the party’s image through “conspiracy and isolationist messages”, this is ultimately his right, but there is a serious problem if Dragnea “tries to make personal games related to the national interests”.
“This is why it’s essential, dear colleagues, beyond any unofficial political instructions, to adopt tomorrow one of the modernization projects that will make Romanian Army a credible and respected regional force and a NATO partner that takes its commitments to the end” Raetchi also said to the senators in the Defense Committee.
The draft law on the purchase of the first Patriot missile system will be debated on Monday in the Defense Committee of the Senate, and it should be approved by the plenum also on Monday, in order to be sent to the Deputies’ Chamber which is the decisional body.