Romania’s main objective remains the deterrent and defensive posture on the eastern flank of NATO, Defense Minister Gabriel Les said on Wednesday, referring to talks last week within the NATO Defense Ministers meeting held at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Alliance in Brussels.
“Romania’s main objective has remained linked to consolidating the deterrent and defensive posture on the eastern flank of NATO on the following lines of action: strengthening the advanced presence in the Black Sea region, strengthening the fighting capacity of the South East Multinational Brigade, promoting Romania’s offer on the development on the national territory of a land-based command-control capability, an army corps that complements the command and control deficit in the region, and defining a long-term strategy in the Black Sea,” Gabriel Les said at a press conference organized at the MApN headquarters.
He pointed out that allied ministers had a very consistent agenda of debates, maintaining the line of continuity with regard to the decisions adopted at the Allied Summit in July 2018 and at the ministerial meeting in October 2018.
Gabriel Les added that key issues on the agenda of the two-day talks included the implementation of deterrence and defence decisions and allied operations and missions, the reconfirmation of allied unity and solidarity, through a substantial contribution to a fair sharing of responsibilities.
“We advocated for an integrated and coherent implementation of all measures to strengthen the eastern flank and to make the advanced presence operational, on both dimensions – strengthened and adapted in a coherent and efficient manner. We informed about the positive developments in making operational the presence adapted to terrestrial dimension – I refer to the Multinational Brigade in Craiova, which reached full operational capacity at the end of last year, while expressing hope for continued support from the military authorities to strengthen its capacity to act not only in peacetime, but also during crises as part of a credible NATO response. We invited the Allies to consider the possibility of Brigade affiliation, stressing that the diversity of contributions provides credibility and always demonstrates solidarity,” Les said.
He also spoke about the exchange of views on the Nuclear Armed Forces regime that included additional policy directions with the potential to clarify the implications for the Alliance as regards developments in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
“Our approaches are part and parcel of NATO’s position, always having in view keeping the alliance’s unity and solidarity alive. We have thus reiterated our solidarity and our support for the US position on the suspension of its obligations under the INF and the support for the common position of NATO in this issue,” Les said.
Another topic discussed at the meeting concerned, according to the minister, the developments on the equitable burden sharing of Allied efforts in the field of Defense, taking into account the three “Cs” – “cash”, “capabilities” and “contributions” and speeding up the implementation of the commitment to increase defense resources adopted in 2014.
“We highlighted the progress made by Romania in implementing the commitment on the three levels (…) and we informed about the allocation of 2% of GDP since 2017, a commitment that was maintained in 2018 and 2019,” the minister said.
He also spoke about the contribution to missions and activities under the aegis of NATO and other international organizations, highlighting the overall increase in 2019 of staff who can participate in missions and operations outside the national territory.
“At the moment, our participation effort ranks 5th among NATO member states, with a planned force of over 800 troops for 2019. With regard to the NATO mission in Iraq, there was unanimity in providing support for completing the material and human resources needed so that this mission can achieve its operational capacity to meet its goals,” Les said.