NATO unit in Bucharest activated

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NATO Force Integration Unit in Bucharest has been activated on Thursday, with Romania’s Defence Minister Mircea Dusa and the General Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Nicolae Ciuca attending the ceremony.

President Klaus Iohannis also sent a message, voicing endorsement for the establishment of the unit, which he says is the expression of NATO’s support for Romania’s security.

“The activation of the NATO force integration unit on Romania’s territory and of similar structures in other NATO member states on the eastern flank marks the finalization of a process that started with a NATO summit in September 2014 in Wales to strengthen the security of the allied member states on the eastern flank of NATO,” said the Romanian president, as quoted by a Presidential Administration press release.

He thanks NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for supporting the process, including for his July 2 visit to Romania, as well as the Defence Ministry for the successful completion of all the necessary procedures for the commissioning of the NATO unit.

“The establishment of these command units reflects the Alliance’s determination and capacity to boost the defence of the member states against increased challenges and instability coming from the eastern neighborhood. By the military staff selected from various member states to work at the unit, the new command unit is truly a multinational team that reflects NATO’s solidarity with and support for Romania’s security. I want to thank all the allies that have appointed officers to work at the unit, and I hope they will enjoy Romania’s hospitality and their presence will be a good opportunity for the Alliance to get to know and deepen knowledge of the realities in the current security context,” says Iohannis.

The head of state also wishes the Romanian troops and the entire staff of the new NATO command unit good luck with fulfilling their duties to become “a bridge between the NATO and Romanian forces, between the national systems of security and defence and that of NATO of which Romania is a member.”

Attending the opening ceremony, Defence minister Mircea Dusa said it is a historical moment. “This event has a strategic significance for us, for Romania, giving a strong signal of an allied reassurance and solidarity in the current complex security context (…) I wouldn’t use big words, but it is a historical event. The NFIU is the first NATO structure activating in Romania 11 years after our country joined NATO (…) It’s an eloquent example of the Alliance’s commitment to the defence of its members (…) We can assert today these structures are activated as of September 1, and will get fully operational by 2016,” the Romanian DefMin said.

The command is one of six such headquarters set up in Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania to consolidate the eastern flank of NATO.

The units are part of NATO’s adaptation plans as the Alliance faces increased security challenges in the region and is aimed at improving the Alliance’s capacity to concretely and decisively respond to any hostile action against a member state.

They will work in conjunction with national officials to identify logistical networks, transportation nodes and supporting infrastructure to ensure NATO high-readiness forces can deploy into an assigned region as quickly as possible.

Late this August at the Smardan firing range of Galati County, National Defence Minister Mircea Dusa reported that that on September 3, NATO force integration units (NFIUs) will be simultaneously inaugurated in all the six eastern border member states of the European Union, Romania included. “At 11:00 o’clock on September 3, we will be simultaneously inaugurating in all the six eastern border member states of the European Union NFIU command centres, which include raising the NATO flag and opening the similar command in Bucharest City,” said Dusa back then.

 

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