Romanian president and US Secretary of State Blinken talk regional security situation, energy crisis in Bucharest
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis welcomed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest on Tuesday, November 29, for a separate meeting before the NATO Foreign Ministers' Meeting. The two officials discussed several topics of interest during their face-to-face meeting, such as the difficult situation in the region created by the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and the Visa Waiver program.
Iohannis and Blinken discussed the complex regional context, including the economic, social and humanitarian effects of Russia's continued aggression in Ukraine and the measures taken to strengthen the deterrence and defence posture on NATO's Eastern Flank.
"In this context, president Klaus Iohannis thanked for the recent addition of the American military presence in Romania, with the aim of strengthening the deterrence posture on the Eastern Flank of the Alliance and as an additional measure to ensure the security of our country and the entire region," reads the Romanian Presidency's press release.
The Romanian president also referred to the decisions taken by the allies at the Madrid Summit, reiterating the need for their "immediate and comprehensive implementation." According to him, the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest is "an important step in the preparation of additional decisions regarding the strengthening of the deterrence and defence posture on the entire Eastern Flank, including the Black Sea, at the upcoming Summit in Vilnius."
Another topic of discussion focused on the continuation of the allies' support for Ukraine, with Antony Blinken expressing the USA's appreciation for Romania's consistent efforts, both by providing direct assistance and support to refugees and the grain transit but also by coordinating international efforts in support of the neighboring country.
"President Klaus Iohannis emphasized the need to continue the partners' support for the Republic of Moldova, evoking the substantial impact of the conflict in Ukraine and presented the support measures adopted by Romania in critical areas, with an emphasis on the energy sector," the Romanian Presidency said.
The topic of the current energy crisis was also addressed, with the two officials evaluating the status of bilateral strategic projects in the energy sector, especially those in the civil nuclear field, which will allow Romania to be a provider of energy security in the region.
The Visa Waiver program was also brought up during the discussions, and president Klaus Iohannis and Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the common interest in working together to record concrete progress in this matter.
Antony Blinken came to Romania to attend the NATO Foreign Ministers' Meeting taking place in Bucharest on November 29-30. Before the meeting, Blinken also met with prime minister Nicolae Ciuca, with whom he visited an exhibition at the Romanian Athenaeum.
"[…] it is wonderful to be back in Bucharest. As the prime minister said, I was here with President Clinton when he and President Constantinescu announced the strategic partnership 25 years ago. It was a moment when the Romanian people inspired the world with their own quest for freedom," Blinken said in a joint conference with the Romanian PM.
"I don't think that the two presidents could have imagined even then the extent that this partnership would grow and flourish – security, economic, people-to-people ties. And as the prime minister said, we are steadfast Allies in NATO defending the values that we share, including when those values are under assault by Russia in Ukraine. And we've built a strong and growing economic partnership, including with powerful new horizons around nuclear energy," he added.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is also in Romania to lead the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
(Photo source: Presidency.ro)