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August 8, 2022

ForMin Aurescu: If President Putin hoped to divide us, he failed

Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu told a Black Sea Security Summit roundtable conference in Constanta that transatlantic coordination in the face of Russia’s aggression “has been impeccable and it must continue to be so.”

According to the minister, the Bucharest 9 format, launched by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis and his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, “has had in this context a clear added value in ensuring coordinated and cohesive approaches among the nine allies on the eastern flank, and also at a transatlantic level regarding the security of our alliance as a whole.”

“If President Putin hoped to divide us, he failed. To the contrary, we have shown the complete opposite of what he was trying to achieve: there is renewed drive and commitment to consolidate European strategic resilience, with the United States support. The European Council granted Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova the candidate status. Also, it recognises Georgia’s European perspective. Finland and Sweden have started the process of joining NATO, and we need to see also very clearly that the decisions we have taken to make our posture of defence and deterrence stronger and more efficient are extremely relevant for us all,” Aurescu said, according to Agerpres.

The minister added that Romania is the NATO and EU member state with the longest border with Ukraine. That is why, he said Romania “has an acute sense of the threats the Euro-Atlantic space is facing as a consequence of the illegal war of Russia against Ukraine.”

“No allied waters are directly threatened by Russia the way the Romanian Black Sea waters are. Here in Constanta and all along the Black Sea coast lies the first line of defence for the Euro-Atlantic community, and the first line of support for our partners in Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. Romania has constantly warned of the rising threat posed by Russia in the Black Sea after the illegal annexation of Crimea. (…) The Euro-Atlantic community has gradually come to the uncomfortable conclusion that, under President Putin, Russia is not the reliable, constructive or at least predictable partner we were looking and hoping for,” Aurescu said.

According to Aurescu, the new strategic concept adopted two days ago in Madrid “states the obvious, that Russia is the most significant and direct threat to the Euro-Atlantic security.”

“The war in Ukraine has fundamentally changed the security parameters we are working with, but the Euro-Atlantic community has reacted in a robust and united manner, and this is our main strength and advantage. We are more united than ever in defending our citizens, our territories, our values and the rules-based international order. Romania is a reliable and active partner and ally. The historical decisions taken these days at the NATO summit in Madrid reflect a clear message regarding the Black Sea security,” he said.

Aurescu added that the strong, multifaceted support for Ukraine should only grow in quantity and complexity. He mentioned that Romania has helped Ukraine since the first day of the aggression, helping more than 1.4 million Ukrainian citizens who crossed the border into Romania.

“Romania is actively involved in facilitating the transit of Ukrainian exports and in serving as a hub for its grain. We are working to find the best solutions, to ease the transit here, where we find ourselves, through the Black Sea port of Constanta, and our ports on the Danube, but also on our railways. Romania also calls for the involvement of all relevant actors, of a coalition who could support the international efforts to create blue corridors, ensuring safe maritime transportation in the Black Sea,” he said.

At the same time, Aurescu added that the decision announced by President Joe Biden to enhance the US military presence in Romania is also a “strong signal of US commitment to allied and regional security.”

He mentioned that 25 years ago Romania and the United States launched a strategic partnership aimed at strengthening and broadening bilateral relations, with an emphasis on co-operation in the field of security and Romania’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

Aurescu and US Senator Roger Wicker co-chaired the Black Sea Security Summit, organized by the US Congress Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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