Romania is one of the key-players in terms of the security in the Black Sea region, where, over the past years, there have been “several hybrid-type activities,” Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu stated on Thursday in the opening of the “Atlantic-Black Sea Security Forum,” an event organized by the Aspen Institute Romania together with the Bucharest office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, as part of the Aspen National Security & Defense program.
“From our point of view, the gravitational center moves from the Atlantic area to a small region, called the Black Sea,” the head of the Romanian diplomacy stated. He mentioned that the reasons of this “shift” are the fact that the Black Sea is located at the eastern border of NATO, but also the hybrid activities in the area.
“Over the past 10 years we had several hybrid-type activities in our region. I am talking about Georgia, Ukraine and I’m thinking about the frozen conflicts in Transnistria, Armenia and Azerbaijan and many other places,” he pointed out.
Thus, Melescanu also referred the situation in Crimea.
“The Black Sea has always been one in which there have been cooperation, cultural exchanges, economic links from ancient times to the present. What happened was the Russian Federation’s move to eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea. It is not a simple annexation of Crimea, it is a step towards having a strong space for military equipment in the Black Sea,” he argued.
Furthermore, Melescanu highlighted that the Black Sea region is “one of the energy transmission corridors from Central Asia and Asia, in general, toward the EU.”
“Romania is one of the key-players in the Black Sea,” he stated, mentioning our membership to NATO and several military bases of the Alliance on Romanian soil.
The Foreign Affairs Minister also talked at the summit about the current context in terms of worldwide security.
“Unfortunately, the security which existed during the Cold War is out of the question. Unfortunately, very important agreements for disarmament, such as the INF (…) and many others, are no longer in place. This thing has created a vacuum at the legislative level regarding Defence in our world,” he said, adding that these changes led to the creation of regional powers.
“With all modesty, Romania is one of the key-topics in the region,” he said while also addressed the subject of a current change in the war tactics.
“We have to understand that the very essence of war is changing. Before, when we had conventional wars, the armies were fighting, we were talking about weapons, planes and others. Today, we are very aware that the classic war, as it used to be, no longer exists. We are now talking about hybrid warfare, strategic communication, building resilience,” the minister said.
The transatlantic relation was another topic tackled by Minister Melescanu.
“When talking about the existing conflicts, whether they be economic or of any other nature, we have to admit that the European Union and European countries, in general, are basically a natural ally of the United States of America. We have to admit that and, this is why, for Romania, the transatlantic relation is one of the basic pillars of its security,” Melescanu argued.
“We have an advantage, we are on the good side of the barricade. All NATO and the EU members promote in general the idea of totally observing the rules outlined by international law and we are also strong believers of the idea that each country has the right to be free to determine its future. These are basic agreements from our point of view for everything we do in the future,” the head of Romanian diplomacy underscored.
Furthermore, he also mentioned Article 5 of the Treaty.
“If you take a look at countries and most recent military operations, you see that everybody tries to maintain below what is outlined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO is the most important and most successful alliance in the world. Everyone is trying not to cross the red line marked by Article 5,” the Foreign Affairs Minister stated.
DefMin Les: NATO should implement a long-term strategy to support Black Sea security
The North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation should “implement a long-term inclusive, comprehensive and consistent strategy, to support Black Sea Security,” Minister of Defence Gabriel Les stated on Thursday at the “Atlantic – Black Sea Security Forum.”
“Russia has reached a new level of its strategic approach and it’s ready to use direct aggression, in order to achieve certain political and security goals,” said the Minister.
He spoke, on the same occasion, about the “aggressive” developments in the Black Sea area, most of them doubled by the “lack of transparency and predictability.” Les also mentioned “the militarization of Crimea,” and the movement in the area of “some modern military systems and capabilities, including offensive ones.”
“All these things really worry us and we believe that the Alliance should leave behind its passive deterrence approach in the region and implement a long-term inclusive, comprehensive and consistent strategy to support security in the Black Sea,” he said.
Les reminded about the military drills of Russia at the NATO border and spoke about “an aggressive and challenging dynamics that has become almost like a everyday routine.”
“The strategic goals are obvious – to install and maintain military dominance and deny Western world’s access to the region, to undermine the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova,” added the Minister.
In such a complex context full of challenges, he continued, the Black Sea has become “an area of a strategic importance for the security of the Alliance,” and not only “a regional problem.”
The Minister of Defence went on to speak about Romania’s approach in terms of military security, in the context in which our country is currently holding the rotating presidency of the Council of EU.
According to Les, Romania’s objectives are “pragmatic,” as they consider the complementarity, in the defence field, between the EU and NATO.
“The European Union must adapt to the everyday realities and perform better in the defence and security field,” said the Minister, who claimed that “NATO remains the essence of European defence.”
In another line of thoughts, Les said that there are also challenges “which are not and will never be of NATO’s concern.” “European Union must strengthen itself here,” he highlighted.