Supporting Ukraine means in fact supporting the security of Romania, the security of the Romanian citizens, the security of the European Union, the security of the Euro-Atlantic area, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu told a joint news conference with his American counterpart Antony Blinken in Bucharest on Tuesday.
Speaking about the support given by Romania to Ukraine, the head of the Romanian diplomacy said that “it was a huge effort.”
“I think that this huge effort will continue, because I do think that we need to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. So, there is no fatigue here about supporting Ukraine and we will continue with the same effort, because we think that supporting Ukraine means in fact supporting the security of Romania, the security of Romanian citizens, the security of the European Union, the security of the Euro-Atlantic area, because the war against Ukraine unleashed by Russia is not just a war about Ukraine or against Ukraine; it is not just an attack on the security of our neighbour. It is an attack of the security of the region, it is an attack of the security of Europe, an attack of the Euro-Atlantic security,” said Aurescu.
He also spoke about the US strategy for the Black Sea region and recalled his visit to Washington last November.
“We considered it was very important to bring also Romania’s contribution, and at that time I forwarded a comprehensive document with the vision of Romania on how this Black Sea strategy should look like in our view. The vision was of a comprehensive strategy to go beyond the security dimension, the classic security dimension, and to add dimensions related to the freedom of navigation, to the resilience of countries around the Black Sea which needs to be consolidated. I also included three ideas regarding the developments of the economies in the Black Sea region and consolidating the Black Sea as a hub and transit point between Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Because, indeed, the Black Sea has a lot of potential.”
Aurescu said that after the beginning of the war in Ukraine, a rethinking of this concept was considered.
“After the war started in Ukraine, we considered that it is extremely relevant to think again in the new context what would be the main parameters of this US strategy on the Black Sea, which is not just a US strategy, it is far more than that, going beyond the vision of the united States,” he said.
“Today I’ve forwarded another updated version of the vision of Romania on this strategy, consolidating the approach, which is a comprehensive one, that was included in the document for the last November.”
He also mentioned that on Tuesday and Wednesday a meeting of the NATO foreign ministers takes place in Bucharest. “That’s is why we are meeting here, on the shores of the Black Sea, because this speaks about not only the role of Romania in this international context and the work that we have done and will continue to do. It is also about the strategic importance of the Black Sea, in this context,” said Aurescu.
He also mentioned the fact that the ministers will also meet their Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to find ways to support Ukraine’s defence capacity and to propose a NATO comprehensive assistance package of non-lethal aid for Ukraine.
Regarding the permanent US and NATO military presence in Romania, Aurescu said: “No time there is enough support, but we will continue, because this is about our security and it is about our common values.”
“We have advocating for quite a long time for more US and NATO presence in Romania. We discussed this last year, but now I think we have a very robust US [military] presence in Romania, a very robust NATO presence in Romania, but we have to continue to implement the decisions of the Madrid Summit, which are speaking about transforming to the level of the battlegroup in Romania, from the battalion level to the brigade level,” he pointed out.
Aurescu also welcomed the fact that the proposed US ambassador to Romania was being heard in the US Congress on Tuesday.
Blinken: Romania can count on America being by its side
Having proceeded down the long road to democracy and now standing up for democracy everywhere, Romania can count on America to continue to be by its side, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a joint news conference with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu in Bucharest on Tuesday.
“I think it’s fair to say that few nations understand better than Romania why it is so important to stand up for the right of all nations, big and small, to have their sovereignty, their territorial integrity respected, to insist that one country cannot simply seize the land of another by force, erase its borders, destroy its identity,” said the head of US diplomacy.
He mentioned his first visit to Bucharest in 1997. “I was with President Clinton for the announcement of the strategic partnership. I remember that day as if it were yesterday: the tens of thousands of Romanians who packed University Square under the bright sun, the tricolour flag that President Clinton unfurled and the pledge that he made: as you proceed down democracy long road, America will be by your side. So it’s a particular pleasure to return now to Bucharest, 25 years later,” said Blinken.
He added that “the United States will continue to support Romania’s work to build robust democratic institutions, to combat corruption to strengthen even more the state of law” and that his country “could not wish for a more stalwart and more committed ally.’
Speaking about the situation in Ukraine, he emphasided that “Romanians have opened their doors and opened their hearts to millions of innocent civilians, mostly women and children fleeing Putin’s violence, tens of thousands of whom remain here in Romania.”
He said that Romanians helped with food, water, medical supply and fuel, adding that Romania facilitated the export of more than 6 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain helping prevent millions of people around the world from going hungry.
Blinken also said that “the Romanian government has been subject to threats and cyber-attacks from Russian groups.”
“We know that Romania’s leadership in all these efforts has come with costs to the Romanian people, as it has for people across Europe and indeed around the world. Russia’s war has raised the cost of energy, food and other essentials for Romanian households as they head into winter.”
Regarding Romania’s commitment to the Alliance, Blinken pointed out that “Romania not only meets, but it exceeds the commitment the allies made to spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024”.
Compiled from Agerpres