Romania “has been extraordinary in the generosity and the courage shown” in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, US Vice President Kamala Harris told a joint news conference with President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace on Friday.
She thanked Romanians on behalf of the United States of America, saying that “Romania has been extraordinary in the generosity and the courage that you have shown in this moment.”
Harris added that “around the world we have watched as you received refugees.”
“Around the world, and I speak for the United States we know of the particular challenges that you face geographically,” said Harris.
Any intentional attack targeting civilians is a war crime
US Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday stated that “any intentional attack targeting civilians is a war crime.”
“I said it before and I will say it again that any intentional attack targeting civilians is a war crime,” Harris said, at the Cotroceni Palace, during the joint press conference with President Klaus Iohannis.
“We have the unfortunate experience, all of us now who are not in Ukraine, of witnessing horror. (…) It’s painful to watch what is happening to innocent people in Ukraine, who just want to live in their own country,” said the US Vice President.
An attack against one allied NATO state is an attack against all states in the Alliance
An attack against one allied NATO state is an attack against all states in the Alliance, US Vice President Kamala Harris also said on Friday at a joint press conference with President Klaus Iohannis.
“As the Romanian people know, as we all know, it is a dynamic situation and, as time goes on, we always evaluate the situation that exists. As for what might happen … in terms of Putin’s behavior, I can’t speculate, but we are very firm and it is clear that as members of NATO, an attack on a country is an attack on all”, she said.
“The United States is committed to our friendship and alliance with Romania,” she said, noting that there is a rotating US troops presence in Romania.
Regarding the deployment of additional troops, the US official said that “this is a dynamic situation and we will on a daily basis assess the needs that we have to maintain stability in the region.”
“America’s commitment to the North Atlantic-Treaty is ironclad. We take very seriously our role and the relationships that we have within the NATO Alliance. We take it seriously when we say that an attack against one is an attack against all. We are firm in our commitment. When I say and we say over and over again, President Biden says, we will defend every inch of NATO territory. So I am present in Romania today to reaffirm that commitment,” Harris pointed out.
We maintain diplomacy is the only way to solve the conflict
Visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris says that the US maintain that that diplomacy is the way to resolve the situation in Ukraine, while noting that the Russian currency, the ruble, is in free fall following sanctions on Russia.
“From the beginning, the United States has been attempting sincerely to engage in diplomacy, actively, and from everything that we know and have witnessed Putin shows no sign of engaging in serious diplomacy. As many of you know, I gave a speech in Munich three weeks ago before the reinvasion of Ukraine started. And I said then what we have maintained all along: all we are witnessing is a playbook, the Russian playbook. And it includes lies, misinformation, and the acts of aggression that we are now witnessing. We maintain that diplomacy is the way to resolve these issues. That coexists with our commitment to ensure that our allies are strong and that there must serious consequence and accountability for what Russia is doing. Which is why we have (…) engaged in historic sanctions and to the effect of basically a free fall of the rouble; the Russian stock market is still not open; their credit ranking is now junk, and there will be more announcements about more action that we will take to ensure serious consequence for what is atrocious and outrageous conduct on behalf of the Russian people by Putin,’ she told a joint news conference with President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
The Romanian President also said in his turn that in case additional sanctions are needed, they will be applied.
“The sanction packages have been discussed between the US and the European Union we will continue to work together on this. This is the economic side. On the other hand, the two of us just stated that we stand strong together according to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. And we will continue this way. So, if new sanctions are necessary, they will be discussed and applied,” Iohannis said.
President Iohannis: There are no data indicating that Romania would be targeted by an aggression
There are no data indicating that Romania would be targeted by an aggression, President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday in a joint press statement with visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris.
“I can emphasize that we have no data indicating that Romania would be targeted by an aggression. On the other hand, it is very clear that this action by Russia, this war launched against Ukraine has certainly produced a visible, firm, clear result and that is the unity of NATO and the determination of NATO allies to stand together and defend themselves together,” said President Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Long-term US and allied enhanced presence in Romania, needed
President Klaus Iohannis on Friday said that in this tense context there is further need for the US and allied military presence in Romania, on long term, as an additional measure to ensure the country’s and the whole region’s security.
“We have discussed, at the same time, the need, in this tense context, to further increase the US and allied military presence in Romania, on long term, as an additional measure to ensure our country’s security and that of the entire region,” the head of state said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Iohannis added that he conveyed to the US VP Romania’s commitment to increase defence spending.
“I have conveyed that, in its turn, Romania understands that security starts at home and, in this respect, we have recently taken the initiative to raise the defence spending from 2 percent as it is now, to 2.5 percent [of the GDP], which has been highly appreciated by the US side,” Iohannis mentioned.
The President said that he agreed with the US VP to continue the consolidation of the defence and deterrence measures on the Eastern Flank of the Alliance.
“We have assessed together with Madam Vice President the long term implications of the aggression taking place in Ukraine and the Russian military presence in Belarus on the European and Euro-Atlantic security, including on NATO’s posture. We have established to cooperate in order to continue the consolidation of the defence and deterrence measures on the Eastern Flank, with a focus on its southern part, in the Black Sea region. I have underscored that, in this context, we need to make operational as fast as possible NATO’s Battle Group on Romania’s territory. Overall, Romania’s strategic evaluation is that it becomes necessary to fundamentally rethink the concept, structure and elements of NATO’s posture on the Eastern Flank, taking into account that the current circumstances are consistently different from the moment the current approach on the Eastern Flank was designed. We need a unitary and coherent Enhanced Presence as soon as possible,” the head of state also said.
NATO will act without hesitation to defend every allied state, including Romania
NATO will act without hesitation for the defence of every allied state, including Romania, President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday in a joint press statement with US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is visiting Bucharest.
“Madam Vice President has reaffirmed in our discussions today the full commitment of the United States to Article 5 on the collective defence of NATO’s Washington Treaty. This article contains the essence and spirit of NATO and guarantees that any attempt to affect the security of a NATO state will receive the firm, prompt, decisive response of the entire alliance. I say it with great responsibility: NATO will act without hesitation to defend every allied state, including, of course, Romania. It’s a scenario we all want to avoid, but we, as allies – I say it together with our most important strategic partner – will not yield a single millimeter in terms of compliance with the commitments that bind us. I thanked for these unshakable security guarantees, as the Romanian society has not benefited so far in our history,” Iohannis told a press conference held at the Cotroceni Palace.
He thanked the US Vice President for her presence in Romania “at this crucial time” for the democratic community and Euro-Atlantic security.
“Your visit, Madam Vice President, once again reflects the depth and solidity of the bilateral strategic partnership and the strong commitment of the United States to the security of Romania and its allies on the Eastern Flank. I conveyed to the Vice President Romania’s appreciation for the efforts and leadership of the United States, of President Biden, of herself and of the entire administration in Washington in this very complicated context,” said President Klaus Iohannis.
The head of state added that the ongoing dialogue and close US coordination with Romania, but also with all allies and partners, have made a key contribution to shaping the “unitary and strong response” of the international community to Russia’s actions.
“We have coagulated a strong and prompt response, both in terms of multi-level assistance to Ukraine and the people affected by the conflict, and in terms of sanctions imposed on Russia and measures to adapt the allied posture as a whole, especially on the Eastern Flank,” Iohannis specified.
Energy crisis – opportunity to move to independence from Russian gas through investments in renewable sources
The energy crisis could be a historic opportunity to move to a true European energy independence from Russian gas through investments in renewable sources, President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday in a joint press conference with the US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is visiting Bucharest.
“I have discussed with Madam Vice President also the prospects for energy security. We agreed that this crisis could be a historic opportunity to move towards a true European energy independence from Russian gas by investing in renewable sources, in the civil nuclear sector, through diversification of sources, liquefied natural gas imports and, obviously, through increased interconnection,” Iohannis said.
The head of state brought to mind that, on the sidelines of the meeting of the COP 26 Summit in Glasgow, the joint project Romania – USA for the inclusion of small modular reactors in the national system was launched. “We have agreed to continue and intensify our cooperation on this strategic level,” Iohannis said.
According to the president, this year, on the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Strategic Partnership with the United States, it is “clearly at the highest level in its history.”
“In addition to enhanced cooperation in the field of defence and security and ambitious energy initiatives, we discussed with Madam Vice President to continue to deepen all dimensions of the Strategic Partnership, from the economic one – including by the development of strategic priority regional interconnection projects of interest for Romania – to the consolidation of the scientific cooperation and, of course, of the interpersonal relations,” added the head of state.
Iohannis specified that the discussions also focused on the Visa Waiver program for Romania. “We also discussed the Visa Waiver issue for Romania and we hope to have results along these lines as well,” the head of state said.
It is unimaginable to see such images in the 21st century, in Europe
Attacks in Ukraine such as the one at the maternity in Mariupol or on the humanitarian convoys must be documented, to establish those responsible, nonetheless it is “shaking” to see such images in the 21st century, in Europe, President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday.
“We have discussed these matters, because the images are truly shocking. We have discussed this matter with Madam Vice President as well as yesterday, on the occasion of the EU summit. It is very clear to everyone that such situations must be documented, so that, at the certain time, the relevant authorities and courts can pursue these deeds and fairly establish, on an international level, if there were war crimes, who is responsible and what sanctions they must bear. It is, nonetheless, unimaginable to us all to see such images now, in the 21st century, in a war in Europe. It is shaking,” Iohannis stressed.
We must support the R. of Moldova with a very large number of refugees compared to the population
On Friday, President Klaus Iohannis said that Romania and the United States, along with other allied countries, had provided assistance on many levels to Ukraine, while also mentioning the need to provide support to the Republic of Moldova.
“Today we have also discussed our coordination in responding to these unseen challenges, especially in the humanitarian field. Romania and the United States, along with other allied and partner countries, have provided multilevel assistance to Ukraine and its people, who are resisting with heroism, courage and determination. As you know, we have decided to make operational the humanitarian logistics facility in Suceava, a so-called hub, which, including with the support of the European Union, has the role of collecting and transporting international donations in the field of humanitarian assistance for Ukrainian citizens. We have also invited the United States to support the work of this centre,” Iohannis told a joint press conference with US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is currently paying a visit to Bucharest.
The head of state mentioned that the situation in the Republic of Moldova in terms of the number of refugees is unique and it is necessary to provide support to the neighbouring country.
“We also discussed the much-needed support we must give to the Republic of Moldova. The situation in the neighbouring country is unique in terms of a very large number of refugees compared to the population. And this pressure overlaps on the economic or energy difficulties that the Republic of Moldova has to face,” the President explained.
Compiled from Agerpres