Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu in Washington to discuss the U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership. Secretary Blinken and Prime Minister Ciolacu reaffirmed the importance of supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression and committed to working together as NATO Allies to strengthen security and energy resilience across the Black Sea region, according to Spokesperson Matthew Miller.
Antony Blinken said that “Romania is and has been a very close partner and a very valued ally” and that the United States is grateful for that partnership.
“We are working more closely together than ever to meet some of the most important challenges of our time.
We see it right now, particularly when it comes to helping defend Ukraine against the ongoing Russian aggression, and the critical role that Romania has played and continues to play in making sure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself, but also critically the ability to continue to export grain, wheat, and other things that are so vital not only to Ukraine’s economy but vital to people around the world. And it is thanks in large part to Romania that Ukraine continues to be able to do that – the Danube, as well, of course, as the Black Sea.
We are working very closely together as well on civil nuclear cooperation, where we’re partners in I think what is going to be one of the most important and exciting projects for the future of civil nuclear power and be effective in dealing with climate change.
And of course, fundamentally – and I’ve had the great privilege of being to Romania on multiple occasions over the course of my 30 years in government, including with President Clinton many years ago and then much more recently than that, and what I’ve seen is a partnership that’s only grown stronger. It’s fundamentally grounded in the ties between our people, but it’s also because of the work between our governments as well as our private sectors, something else that we want to continue to deepen,” Blinken stated.
In his turn, the Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, who made his statements in Romanian, said that the strategic partnership with the United States represents the most important partnership concluded by Romania, especially on the background of the security crisis resulting from the unlawful aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
Ciolacu also thanked Blinken for the support provided so that we can recover the Romanians living in the Gaza Strip, “something that will never be forgotten for Romanians.”
“Romania has stood and will stand by Ukraine’s side until it achieves a victory against the Russian Federation. Romania has learned its lessons from its relationships with Russia some time ago, quite a while ago. We are very much aware of the Russian people and the aggression system, and this is why we will ask you, besides the partnership that has already been concluded with Romania, we would always – we would also like to encourage you to take into consideration a special relationship with the Republic of Moldova. It’s the most vulnerable country, the second most vulnerable country after Ukraine. Well, Ukraine has an armed conflicts and undergoing, while in – Republic of Moldova is subjected to hybrid warfare directed against the president, Maia Sandu, and against democratically elected government,” Ciolacu said.
The topic of interest for Romania addressed by Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu in the discussion with Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also the role that Romania can play in the reconstruction of Ukraine, according to the Romanian Government’s press office. ‘We aim to identify the best ways to deepen and develop bilateral relations and launch new joint projects, so that our Strategic Partnership is strengthened through an Enhanced Economic Partnership. The Romanian government will continue to ensure a safe and stable investment climate. We consider the Strategic Partnership with the United States and the ongoing process of our country’s accession to the OECD as important elements for an active role of Romania in the friendly-shoring process and the creation of secure supply chains, through the attraction of American investments,’ stated Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu.
Ciolacu estimates that Romania will enter the Visa Waiver program next year
Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu stated on Monday that he estimates Romania will join the Visa Waiver program next year. He had discussions on Monday with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. ‘From what we agreed today, I believe the announcement will be made next year. There will be sustained efforts from both the American side and Romanian citizens, as well as the Romanian diaspora in the United States, with the deadline for visa waiver by 2025. It was indeed a practical discussion,’ the Prime Minister declared.
‘It is an extremely important objective for Romanian citizens and a priority for the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are working closely with our American partners, the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. We have an action plan with concrete measures. By the end of the year, we are set to sign two agreements with the U.S.: one for data protection and another for combating and preventing serious crimes. We are on the right track. The trend is downward,’ said in her turn Foreign Minister Luminița Odobescu.
When asked about the suggested date of 2025, Odobescu responded, ‘We can look at this goal. I am cautious about setting timelines, so I focus more on what we need to do in the coming period, and together with my colleagues, I believe we are making progress in this direction.‘
‘I am firmly convinced that, with your help, our heartfelt project, shared by all Romanians, but at this moment also the heartfelt project of the U.S. Ambassador to Romania, the visa waiver and the Visa Waiver program, will become a reality in 2025. We cannot overcome this challenge without your help and your personal involvement,’ the Prime Minister declared during a meeting with Romanians in the U.S. on Sunday evening.
U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec, present at the reception in Washington D.C., stated that there is progress regarding Romania’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver program.