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Bucharest
June 28, 2022
DEFENCE DIPLOMACY

Iohannis, after B9 Summit: We had an exchange of substantive views on recent security developments ahead the NATO Summit in Madrid. Duda: We want a stronger NATO forward presence in the region

President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday that at the B9 Summit there had been an exchange of substantive views between participating leaders on recent security developments, stressing that it is necessary for the Alliance “to be able to defend every inch” of its territory.

“Today we have focused on what we need to do to ensure and deliver, in a concrete way, security for our citizens in this fundamentally changed reality. So, we had an exchange of substantive views today on recent security developments, but also on the allied response to them, especially in preparation for the decisions at the NATO Summit in Madrid. Today’s dialogue has, once again, highlighted our strong commitment to actively contributing to NATO’s objectives. We have also stressed in this context the need for NATO’s future strategic concept to reflect as appropriately and realistically as possible new security parameters, to give priority to collective defence, to define Russia as a threat and to strengthen the Alliance on all levels in order to face all the challenges of the present and the future,” the president said, in a press statement.

Iohannis stressed that it is necessary for the Alliance to be able to defend every inch of its territory. He spoke of a strengthened NATO presence on the Eastern Flank, especially on the Black Sea, the “most exposed” to Russian threats.

“It is necessary that the Allied be able to defend every inch of its territory, of allied territory. The result we are pursuing is a consolidated NATO presence on the Eastern Flank, unitary and coherent, robust, credible and sustainable especially on the Black Sea, the most exposed to Russia’s threats. We are working to adopt concrete elements in this regard at the NATO summit in Madrid, which will take place at the end of this month. The Black Sea region has a strategic importance for Euro-Atlantic security, and future deterrence and defence measures must address the security needs of the area as a matter of priority,” the president said.

Iohannis noted that collective defence is and must remain NATO’s “fundamental, priority task”, adding that the transatlantic connection and Article 5 of the Washington treaty make NATO “the most powerful political-military alliance” in history.

“We examined the stage of implementation of the decision we took at the meeting of NATO leaders on March 24 regarding the transformation of the Allied posture on the Eastern Flank. We reiterated that the extensive process of adapting the Alliance for the future must begin with the deep rethinking of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture, but in the long run. We need to ensure that NATO is able and prepared to respond effectively and in a calibrated manner to the threats it faces,” the president said.

According to the president, the B9 format represents “an essential framework for coagulation and the design of common, articulated positions” on important topics for the security of the Eastern and Euro-Atlantic Flanks. Iohannis stressed that the B9 format, together with NATO allies, ensures “an applied dialogue” on the implications of the Russian military invasion.

“Bucharest 9 is a format that has become all the more necessary in these moments when we are confronted at the border of the North Atlantic alliance with an open conflict that generates human life loss and propagates instability and insecurity in the region and throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. Since the beginning of the hostilities, on February 24, the allies from Central and Eastern Europe, part of the B9 Format, have maintained a dialogue and a close coordination, and the series of meetings held so far definitely demonstrates the added value of the B9 format,” Klaus Iohannis said.

 

Particular emphasis placed on need to further support Ukraine, ensure food security

 

President Klaus Iohannis also said on Friday after the Bucharest 9 (B9) Summit that special emphasis was placed on the need to further support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, but also the Republic of Moldova, noting the importance of efforts to ensure food security and strengthen NATO’s relations with partners in the region.

“At the same time, another important topic addressed during the talks was the multiple consequences of war, not only from a security perspective, but also from a humanitarian and economic point of view. In this regard, special emphasis was placed on the need to further support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. I reiterated on this occasion the fact that Romania has made sustained efforts to support Ukraine from a humanitarian point of view, but also the Republic of Moldova. I also underlined in this context the importance of efforts to ensure food security, an area in which Romania already offers consistent support,” affirmed Iohannis.

The head of state mentioned he upheld “the prospect of strengthening NATO relations with partners in the region, who are deeply exposed to Russian pressure and aggression.”

President Iohannis has supported the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.

“Moreover, I have expressed Romania’s strong support for NATO’s open door policy and for the accession of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance. The accession of these states will contribute to the strengthening of the security of the Alliance as a whole, for a more effective deterrence and defense posture, including on the Eastern Flank. Based on our shared vision on the changes in the security environment and the need for the Alliance to respond accordingly, we will continue to work closely to identify and promote the best solutions for NATO’s long-term consolidation. At the end of the summit, we adopted a joint statement reflecting our position,” the Romanian president went on to say.

 

Polish President Duda: We want a stronger NATO forward presence in the region

 

Polish President Andrzej Duda, speaking at the end of the Bucharest Nine (B9) Summit in Romania’s capital city, said that the participating countries want a stronger NATO forward presence in the region, which should also act as an advanced defense.

“We believe that it is not just in Ukraine’s best interest to defend itself and maintain its sovereignty, independence and freedom, but also in the interest of the Polish people and the entire eastern flank, of the European Union and the free world to make sure that Ukraine is not only able to defend itself, but also that it returns to its internationally recognized borders, that order is being restored,” Duda said, according to the official translation.

Poland’s President also addressed issues related to the prospects of NATO’s military presence on the eastern flank.

“We want to make sure that there is a stronger forward NATO presence that extends to more countries, that Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia are added. (…) We want to turn this into an advanced defense presence, not just a forward presence. We want the battle groups to be raised to brigade status in eastern flank countries, so that the number of deployed troops will be much higher – this is what Romania wants too – brigade status, I repeat. If you look at a brigade status, that’s over 3,000 soldiers. It’s very significant and visible, given what we have today,” said Andrzej Duda.

He also mentioned that a US military presence is intended both at NATO and at bilateral level.

“I hope that these decisions will increase our security. (…) Our joint declaration is another sign of unity within NATO. The B9 countries are NATO states. But we are on the front line, we can say this because with the exception of the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, all of our countries have a direct border with either the war-torn Ukraine or Russia, so there is no doubt that today we are in a very special situation as NATO member states. All NATO eyes are upon us. The decisions we have made today will be very impactful,” said Andrzej Duda.

The B9 Summit, co-chaired by President Klaus Iohannis and President Andrzej Duda, precedes the NATO Summit in Madrid later this month.

 

Compiled from Agerpres

Photo: www.presidency.ro

Read also: 

Bucharest Nine Summit kicks off with all eastern flank Presidents attending. Iohannis: B9 format meeting is more relevant than ever in the context of the war in Ukraine

B9 Summit adopts Joint Declaration: We call on Russia to withdraw from the Ukrainian territory, we need to increase multidimensional allied presence

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