In her visit to Romania since she took office, the U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has met Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest in Friday, stating that her presence here comes to reaffirm the Unites States’ commitment to defend every inch of NATO’s territory.
Kamala Harris thanked for the warm welcome and friendship, also thanking Romanians for “being absolutely extraordinary” and for proving “generosity and courage”, while hailing Romania’s welcoming the refugees. “ Romania has been a hub of humanitarian assistance. And that is yet another reason that we are here to thank the President and the people of this great country for what you are doing based on the needs of this region. You have been welcoming tens of thousands of refugees, and doing it with such compassion and such grace.”
“Thank you, President Iohannis, for the warm welcome to Romania and for your steadfast friendship to the partnership that we have that is longstanding and enduring,” the VP said.
“We take seriously and are prepared to act on the words we speak when we say an attack against one is an attack against all. We are firm in our commitment — when I say and we say over and over again, President Joe Biden says: We will defend every inch of NATO territory.
So I am present in Romania today to reaffirm that commitment, in addition to thanking the president, your leadership, and the people of Romania.
America’s commitment to Article 5 is ironclad. We take very seriously our role and the relationships that we have within the NATO Alliance.
The strength of our Alliance has endured and is now bigger and stronger than ever. The strength of our Alliance includes our mutual commitment to stand on the principles that we hold dear and share, that include the defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of independent states — and in this case, Ukraine.
We are clear that the work that is to be done in response to Putin’s war includes standing strong within the Alliance to support the needs of our partners. To that end, and to demonstrate our commitment as the United States, in recent weeks we sent a 1,000-member Stryker squadron. That creates a total force of 2,000 American troops who are prepared to stand in defense of our commitment to the NATO Alliance and the eastern flank.
We have reinforced our recent commitments, all with the mention and with the meaning of strengthening our deterrence and our collective defense”, Harris further stated.
Harris thanked President Iohannis for his leadership on the NATO’s Eastern flank.
“I want to thank you, President Iohannis, for your leadership on NATO’s eastern flank. I want to thank you for in addition to doing all that you have been doing in your role of leadership, to modernizing and to increasing the resources that are available.
You and I talked about the importance of running a government in a way that we modernize and are efficient and effective with the resources we have. You have been a model in that regard, and I thank you.”
Kamala Harris reminded that the United States Congress has taken recent action, including a commitment of $13.6 billion
for Ukraine and the region in terms of security assistance and humanitarian assistance. “To the extent that we are offering humanitarian assistance, in addition to the $13.6 billion package from the United States Congress, $4 billion of that will be directly committed to humanitarian assistance. That is on top of the $53 million that I announced yesterday that, through the U.N., the United States will give to the World Food Programme.”
In his turn, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that Kamala Harris’ visit reflects once again the depth of the partnership.
“Security starts at home. In this regard, we have decided to increase defense spending from 2% of GDP to 2.5%. The ongoing US dialogue with Romania has made an essential contribution to the united and strong international response to Russia’s actions. There was a strong and prompt response to sanctions against Russia and NATO alliance measures,” Iohannis said.
“NATO will act without hesitation to defend every allied state, including Romania. It’s a scenario we all want to avoid. But we, as allies, will not give up a single millimeter on the fulfillment of our commitments. We thanked for these unshakable security guarantees, the strongest in our history, thanks to which every Romanian citizen can rest assured. We thanked for the consolidation of the allied military presence in Romania and we discussed the long-term increase of the American military presence in Romania. We assessed the long-term implications of the invasion in Ukraine. We have agreed to cooperate to continue efforts to strengthen NATO’s southern flank defensive stance. I stressed that it is necessary to operationalize the NATO combat group in Romania as soon as possible. Romania considers it necessary to rethink the substantial approach of NATO’s position on the eastern flank. We need a strong presence as soon as possible,” the Romanian head of state further stated.
Asked if the US plan to supplement troops in Romania and if they have information that the war will spread to Romania, Kamala Harris reiterated that the United States is committed and involved. It is a dynamic situation and we are always evaluating the situation. As for what might happen, Putin’s behavior, I can’t speculate, but we’re very firm. An attack on a NATO member is an attack on everyone, Harris said.
Iohannis also said that there is no data that Romania is targeted for an aggression by Russia. “It is clear, however, that this war has certainly produced a result: NATO unity and the determination of the Allies to stand together and defend themselves.”
As for energy security topic, the Romanian President pointed out that this crisis is a historic opportunity to move towards a true European energy independence from Russian gas. “We launched in the margin of COP 26 from Glasgow the joint project Romania – USA the project of small modular nuclear reactors, we agreed to continue the project,” Iohannis informed.