President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday evening that short conversations with U.S. counterpart Joe Biden focused on how Ukraine is supported, but also on the support that the U.S. official gave when Romania joined NATO, back on March 29, 2004.
President Iohannis was asked if during the short discussions with the American official he reiterated the invitation for him to visit Romania.
“Today we did not discuss this invitation, but we obviously discussed, very briefly, the issues that we have just mentioned, how we support Ukraine and in one of the discussions, because we had two such discussions, we remembered together how President Biden, at that time, supported Romania to enter NATO,” Romania’s head of state said in Brussels.
No concrete indication that there is a target other than Ukraine, says President Iohannis
Speaking Thursday about the need to strengthen NATO’s Eastern Flank, President Klaus Iohannis stressed that, in the case of the conflict triggered by Russia, “there is no indication” that there is a target other than Ukraine.
“At the moment there is no concrete indication that there is a target other than Ukraine, this is what we must say clearly. But we are convinced that the Eastern Flank must be strengthened. The Eastern flank must be strengthened and that is why we are very pleased that NATO has already made the decision to approve the battle group that will be stationed in Romania, as well as other combat groups have been approved, compared to four combat groups that are now on the Eastern Flank. There will be eight,” the president said after the first day of the European Council in Brussels.
He talked about the importance of the Allied presence in the region.
“It is important for us in Romania, because the Eastern Flank is relatively less populated on the Black Sea side and this worried us, that’s why we have continuously requested to have a permanent presence and this fighting group will constitute a permanent allied presence in our country, on the Black Sea. So through these moves that we are doing, Romania will be better defended but, in my opinion and according our opinion, we must not stop here, but make a long-term plan, to make the Eastern Flank much more solid and much better defended,” Iohannis stressed.
It is unrealistic at the moment to impose sanctions on Russia over gas supplies, President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday evening when asked about the possible extension of sanctions against the Russian Federation.
He stressed that the European Union is determined to phase out energy imports from Russia.
“The principle that we have always followed when we decided on packages of sanctions was that these sanctions have, first of all, the strongest effect on Russia, not on us, and then it is clear that we cannot apply sanctions that are, after all, harder to bear for our states rather than Russia. There have been all sorts of pros and cons, the fact is that there has been no concrete, formal proposal for a package of energy sanctions, but yes, there have been discussions, but we know very well that in the European Union there are states that depend relatively little on Russian gas or Russian oil, but there are states that depend almost entirely on Russian gas and oil, and then it is clear that it is not realistic at this time to impose sanctions on this area. But on the other hand, we already made the decision at Versailles, a week ago, to give up energy imports from Russia gradually and as soon as possible, but this change of suppliers cannot be made overnight, it will take months or in some cases even years, but we are determined to do so, as we are determined to give up more and more fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy,” the head of state said.
As for the recent statement made by President Vladimir Putin in which the Russian president announced that states that were not friendly with Russia should pay for gas in rubles, Klaus ZIohhanis said “Contracts are contracts and I don’t think they will go further along that line.”
“The measures I have just stated are: the phasing out of imports of gas and oil from Russia and the switch to other suppliers, while at the same time reducing the European Union’s dependence on these fossil fuels, namely gas, oil and the replacement with renewable or in our case, of Romania, for example, with nuclear, but very importantly, President Biden said that in the United States will increase the production of gas and oil, so that it can provide for Europe these resources, until, of course, renewables or nuclear power are developed well enough to phase out,” Iohannis said.
Romania has a good situation regarding agriculture, we believe there won’t be any issues
President Klaus Iohannis declared on Thursday, regarding the risk of a food crisis, as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, that Romania has a good situation regarding agriculture and believes there won’t be any issues, but situations can occur globally, in which supply will not be at the usual level and possible that sanctions against Russia will make food prices go up.
“We do not believe there will be a significant issue in Romania, but globally these situations can occur, in which supplying will not be at the level we were used to, if we think about the fact that a large part of the grain consumed on the entire planet comes from Russia and Ukraine or at least until now it has been produced in Russia and we can already see that there is a possibility for a supply shortage to happen,” the head of state said in Brussels, where he took part in the reunion of the European Council.
“Romania has a good situation regarding agriculture and we believe that there won’t be any issues. But, yes, it is possible for the sanctions that we decided upon and which we intend to hold on to, to have an impact on food prices,” Iohannis also said.
Compiled from Agerpres correspondent in Brussels reports