The meeting of heads of diplomacy from NATO member countries, held in Bucharest, means “a lot” for Romania’s prestige, but also for its security, declared the Romanian minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu.
“Romania sees its profile recognized internationally in the North Atlantic Alliance, which is a very well-defined profile. Romania is a highly valued ally within NATO. Secondly, our strong commitment to the Alliance’s values and objectives is recognized. As the President also said, Romania has been an extremely active, extremely substantial participant in many Alliance operations, in many missions. Romania is an ally that can be counted on. This is the perception that at this moment the allies have towards Romania. (…) I believe that this meeting brings and has already brought more security for Romania and the Romanian citizens,” stated Aurescu, in the press conference held at the end the meeting of the ministers of Foreign Affairs from the NATO member states, held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Bucharest.
He emphasized that Romania is “under the security umbrella” of NATO, which is “the strongest political-military alliance” in history. Aurescu mentioned that, after Russia’s entry into Ukraine, the allied presence was consolidated both in the north and in the south of the Eastern Flank and that the battle groups were created. There are around 5,000 allied soldiers on the territory of Romania, both within the Battle Group and through the American presence.
“In addition to this, the Madrid summit brought the possibility of increasing the Romanian Battle Group to the brigade level, from the battalion level, in general to the battle groups on the Eastern Flank, as well as the need to have troops of reinforcement precisely allocated to each battle group, so to each state on the Eastern Flank, to which is added the pre-positioning of equipment in the states of the Eastern Flank. We still have to work – and this is what I drew the attention of our colleagues in the alliance these days – we must work for the implementation of these decisions. And this implementation must take place at an accelerated pace, taking into account the security evolution in the area, so that at the Vilnius Summit we can register as much progress as possible,” said Bogdan Aurescu.
According to him, the meeting of foreign ministers is one of the “most important events” that took place in Bucharest in recent years. It is, at the same time, the first high-level event that our country hosts after the 2008 NATO Summit, but also the first meeting of foreign ministers after the Madrid Summit. At the same time, it is also the first meeting attended by the foreign ministers of Finland and Sweden, as states that will join NATO. Another first was the participation of the foreign minister from the Republic of Moldova.
“For several days, Bucharest was the capital of foreign and security policy at the European and Euro-Atlantic level. All eyes were on us because the most important topics for regional, European and Euro-Atlantic security were debated these days. Besides the NATO meeting, as you know, we also hosted the Munich Leaders’ Meeting. Also, for the first time, Romania hosted a G7 meeting on its territory, and also another recorded first is that, for the first time, Romania participated, through the foreign minister, in a meeting of the G7,” Aurescu pointed out.
He mentioned that more than 45 official delegations participated in the meeting in Bucharest and dozens of “substantial interactions” took place. At the same time, Aurescu added that the organization of this meeting a few hundred kilometers from the front line has the “significance of solidarity” with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, in the face of the aggression of the Russian Federation.
Bogdan Aurescu also referred to the way in which Romania “obtained” the holding of this meeting in Bucharest, noting that NATO has the practice of organizing “from time to time some ministerial meetings outside the headquarters” in Brussels, and these meetings “have always a certain meaning” through the chosen place.
“Ever since the beginning of 2021, we submitted Romania’s candidacy to host this ministerial meeting. There were diplomatic approaches at the level of the member states, diplomatic approaches at the level of the International Secretariat, there were approaches that we made at the level of the minister and at level of ambassadors and, in the end, we managed to secure the organization of this meeting in Romania, during 2022. After which the war in Ukraine broke out, the attack of the Russian Federation against the neighbouring state, which led to a decision being made in the spring of this year regarding the conduct of the Ministerial in Romania,” he said.
According to the head of Romanian diplomacy, at one point there was also the option of organizing the Ministerial from Romania before the Madrid Summit, but “after a more serious reflection” it was considered that it is more important to organize this meeting in the implementation of the decisions of the Madrid Summit.
Romania’s profile in NATO, its contributions to countering war in Ukraine, important role in Schengen discussions
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, declared, on Wednesday, that Romania’s profile in the North Atlantic Alliance and the contributions made to counteract Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine have an important role in the discussions regarding the accession to the Schengen area, noting that if our country enters in this space of free movement, there is more internal security in the EU.
Aurescu specified that Romania’s accession to the Schengen area was not the subject of the NATO Ministerial, but he raised this issue in discussions with the counterparts of the member states of the Alliance, showing that Romania meets the necessary conditions.
He said that he discussed with his counterpart from The Netherlands, as well as with those from Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Italy about Romania’s goal of joining the Schengen area, and they all firmly and clearly supported this goal.
Aurescu mentioned that there are prerequisites for a positive decision in the Swedish Parliament.
Settling conflict in Ukraine – favorable premise for solving Trans-Dniester conflict
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, also said on Wednesday that the settling of the conflict in Ukraine could be a favorable premise for solving the Trans-Dniester conflict.
“At this moment, the meetings of the ‘5+2’ format, which manages the solution of the Trans-Dniester conflict, were not suspended, but postponed, because it is natural that during this conflict there is a certain difficulty in sitting at the same table Ukraine and Russia, which are involved in this format. From Romania’s point of view, this format remains the best formula for discussing the elements related to the solution of the Trans-Dniester conflict”, said Aurescu, when asked, in the press conference at the end of the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs from NATO member countries, held in Bucharest, if the Republic of Moldova has more chances to resolve the Trans-Dniester conflict peacefully, after Ukraine wins the war.
He said that, in his opinion, the first consequence of the end of the war in Ukraine will be the possibility of resuming discussions about Trans-Dniester.
Compiled from Agerpres