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September 16, 2019
DEFENCE POLITICS

Patriot missile systems purchase adopted in Deputies Chamber’s plenary sitting. DefMin: Next step is to sign the contract with the US, most likely until December 1

The Chambers of Deputies’ plenary sitting adopted on Tuesday with 279 votes “in favour”, one “against” and one abstention the bill on the “Ground-based Air Defence Capability” to be accomplished under the key endowment programme “Long-range surface-to-air missile system (HSAM).”

Chamber of Deputies Defence Committee had akayed on Tuesday morning the government’s Army endowment bill providing for the purchase of seven Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, Defence Minister Mihai Fifor said.

The Chamber of Deputies is a decision-making forum in this case.

According to Defence Minister Mihai Fifor, once past this stage, the bill’s legislative part is at a closure point, the next step being for the Romanian party to sign the contract with the United States’ Government, most likely until 1 December this year.

“The bill is due for the Chamber of deputies’ plenary sitting. Mr. Speaker of the Deputies’ Chamber, Mr. Dragnea, has provided his full support for this project. (…) Or, this only helps us close the legislative part of the Patriot project this week, so that we can sign the contract with the U.S. Government and proceed with the payment. Thus, alongside the other programmes being conducted, we comply with the 2 percent allocated this year to MApN [the National Defence Ministry – ed.n.]. Specifically, until 1 December we want to be able to sign the acceptance letter with the U.S. Government which also constitutes the actual contract for the first system, the payment for the contract being consequently due within two weeks’ time. Payment for the first system. There was an amendment lodged by one of my colleagues – it is a purely legislative matter, without any consequences,” the Defence Minister showed.

 

DefMin Fifor, after passage of Patriot missile purchasing draft: We hope to close the deal on Dec. 15

 

Romania’s Defence Minister Mihai Fifor said Tuesday after the Chamber of Deputies passed a draft agreement for the purchase by Romania of Patriot missile systems that he hopes the contract with the US Administration will be signed next week, so that the deal may close on December 15.

“I think this is a very important day to Romania. Today, Romania strengthens its defence and deterrence capabilities by acquiring a long-range defence system, and I mean the Patriot system. By the vote of the Chamber of Deputies today we can already sign the Patriot acquisition contract, a government-to-government agreement, and we hope that this bill will be promulgated very soon, so that we can sign the documents with the US Administration next week. Afterwards, the payment procedure will follow against the schedule we have set. We hope to complete this transaction by December 15,” Fifor said at Parliament.

He added that the passage of the bill shows that all the promises made under the strategic partnership with the United States are being fulfilled.

“Romania is thus showing that everything it has promised under a strategic partnership with the United States and NATO members is being accomplished; Romania is are able to spend the 2-percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that the Romanian Parliament has approved in the national budget for defence. We are also prepared to continue with the acquisition of the second Patriot system next year, as well as with the acquisition [programmes approved by the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) and the Romanian Parliament,” said Fifor.

He added that the bill came out in record time in Parliament.

“Today, we are reaching the goal we have set out to. The bill has passed through Parliament in a record time: yesterday in the Senate, today in the Chamber of Deputies; we are expecting President Iohannis to promulgate the law and sign the documents,” added Fifor.

 

Dragnea explains why the law on the Patriot missiles was postponed: The members of the Defense Committee were at a shooting range belonging to SPP

 

PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea explained on Tuesday why the draft law on the purchase of the Patriot missile system was postponed last week, claiming that the reason was given by the fact that the members of the Defense Committee of the Senate were invited on the day of the meeting, to a shooting range belonging to the Protection and Guard Service (SPP), and he mentioned that he doesn’t believe in coincidences.

“Mr. Badalau, the PSD Executive Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Senate, told us on Thursday at Caras that the members of the Defense Committee of the Senate were invited exactly on same day and period to visit a shooting range. Usually, I don’t believe in coincidences, exactly on that day, at that time, so it was a discussion on Thursday, I asked my colleagues on Friday, in the CExN of the Senate to convene the committee yesterday at 11.00, to issue the opinion, to vote on the evening, so that we can end it today at the Chamber” Liviu Dragnea stated.

“Mr. Badalau told us that they were invited at the SPP’s shooting range, by whom, how, why, these are questions to which we have to receive an answer, and I have the great hope that Mr. Badalau didn’t joke” the PSD leader added.

Liviu Dragnea also said that if USA are still worried regarding Romania’s commitment on the involvement in the strategic partnership of the two countries even “after this whole year, when a huge opening to the cooperation with USA took place both in the military and economic fields, it means we got a problem”.

“It means we got a communication problem. There is no hesitation, at least as far as we are concerned, as a parliamentary majority, as Government, in respecting these commitments” he added.

Last week, PSD Chair Liviu Dragnea accused the head of SPP Lucian Pahontu of trying to make recruitments in PSD, and he called him “the postman on duty” at Cotroceni. Dragnea refused to make other mentions, saying that the ones who can provide information are those who were contacted by the SPP head.

Dragnea started by saying at Romania TV that PSD doesn’t have the power, but the governance.

“It’s very important to mention this. (…) The power is owned since years, most seriously since 2005, by the head of state in Romania, an occult power used in an occult manner, illegally and unconstitutionally” Liviu Dragnea stated.

Then, when the moderators insisted on the incidents in which he was involved, referring to the fact that he was offended during his travel with the plane and that handcuffs are showed to him, Dragnea said: “It doesn’t work on me with the bat or with Pahontu’s SPP”.

And he continued: “By the way, Mr. Pahontu, don’t try to make PSD members to have thoughts of glory! Take care of SPP and protect Iohannis. It’s my friendly advice”.

Asked if the head of SPP is involved in politics, the PSD leader replied: “He is in politics for a long time ago. He is the postman on duty at Cotroceni. He served Basescu, now he is serving Iohannis”.

He mentioned that he has this information from those who were contacted by Lucian Pahontu.

“I have this information from those whom he met”, the PSD head continued, and he added: “This is all I can say this evening, those whom he met will tell you if they wish”.

Dragnea was asked in the same TV show who takes advantage of his “execution”, and he explained: “Iohannis and the system, it’s very simple!”

 

Read also:

Senate plenum approves bill on procurement of the first Patriot missile battery. Acquisition of Patriot system makes Romania part of select European and global defence club

 

 

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