Romanian President Iohannis meets his rival for NATO Secretary General seat in Brussels

Romania will maintain infos on aid to Ukraine as 'state secret'.


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President Klaus Iohannis said in a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, when asked if he had discussed with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte about his candidacy for NATO leadership, that none of them “want projects or relationships to be damaged through this competition built in years”.

Iohannis is participating on Thursday and Friday in the Nuclear Energy Summit, organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Kingdom of Belgium, in Brussels. The summit takes place in the context of the historic inclusion of nuclear energy in the agreement of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai in 2023.

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Asked if he has had discussions with Mark Rutter about the competition for the NATO leadership and if he has spoken with representatives of the allies who have declared their support for the Dutch prime minister, the US, Britain and France, Iohannis said: These positions will be expressed by the respective states, by their representatives, not by me. Statements are not made about these matters, except in the NATO format. But I can tell you that there are very good talks, and Prime Minister Rutte and I meet at every Council and summit and we talk. We have an absolutely normal relationship, neither of us wants this competition to ruin projects or relationships that have been built over years. On the contrary”.

Asked what differentiates him from Mark Rutte, Iohannis replied: “Being an atypical competition, I don’t think it’s my role to say about the other competitor how he will do and what he will do. I think what sets us apart is our geography, our history and certainly our approaches, both of which are very constructive but slightly different regarding the future of NATO.”

The Romanian President also spoke about the discussions with the representatives of the states that support him in the race. At NATO, there is no public procedure, there is no voting. The result is established by consensus and then these discussions are quite complex, because people do not want the way they reacted to be conveyed in the public space. I know the reactions, but to protect these sensitivities, I prefer not to say them publicly”, he explained.

Iohannis also stated that his “decalogue” on the vision for the future of the North Atlantic alliance has been “very well received” by the allied states, without giving details.
“The Decalogue was very well received and I think it’s no secret that we had bilateral talks with the allies and many believe that we came up with exactly the important themes. Of course, in the bilateral discussions they also had questions related to other topics. So far we’ve had very good discussions,” declared Iohannis.
However, he avoided answering which countries would support him for the position of Secretary General of NATO, saying that these positions will be expressed by the respective countries, “because statements about these matters are not really made except in the NATO format”.
Asked if he is aiming for another position at a high European level, Iohannis answered: “I am focusing on the talks for NATO”.

As for Rutte, he said he won’t talk about NATO anything, or about candidatures, but praised Iohannis. “He (Klaus Iohannis) is a wonderful man. He has been president of Romania for 10 years and I have worked well almost always. He is a credible leader for his country. As for NATO, as you know, I say nothing.”


The support given to Ukraine by Romania remains a state secret

Romania will not provide public information about the Ukrainian military training programs or the military aid granted to Ukraine, President Klaus Iohannis reiterated on Thursday, during the same conference on the Nuclear Energy Summit.

“Romania will not be more transparent and that’s why I don’t even give you details about who will train whom. I can give you an example of a project of this type that I really like, the project to train pilots on the F-16 aircraft that will take place in a base in Romania“, answered Klaus Iohannis.

He cited as an argument for Romania’s decision to secrete this information the fact that it could be useful to Russia. “I don’t think it’s useful to make public details about military aid or where we train Ukrainian soldiers. We are near the front, there is no point in giving data to the media to those who attack Ukraine. But all these measures are approved by the competent fora and are managed with great responsibility,” explained Iohannis.

Iohannis: “I will insist on the urgency of military support for Ukraine, Republic of Moldova”

The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, also declared that he will insist, at this Summit, on the “urgency” of providing military support to Ukraine. He also stated that “the Republic of Moldova is the state most affected by Russia’s aggression, after Ukraine” and that “it is essential to support it”.

“The most important topic is Ukraine, by far. I will insist on the urgency of military support and the need to fulfill the commitments we have made. Romania will continue to provide assistance on all dimensions, especially on a humanitarian, military level and with regard to the transit of Ukrainian grain. Maintaining European support remains fundamental for the Republic of Moldova,” said Iohannis.

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