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Brussels: Minister Ciuca, US defense secretary talks on main cooperation topics with USA

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Defense minister Nicolae Ionel Ciuca had a meeting with US defense secretary Mark T.Esper on Wednesday, on the occasion of defense ministers' meeting at Brussels NATO headquarters. The two officials discussed main cooperation topics with the US , both from bilateral and allied context, the Defense Ministry (MApN) informs.

According to the MapN press release, talks pointed out the dynamic rhythm  of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States, as well as prospects of boosting cooperation in the field of defense, as essential elements for ensuring Romania's security and stability in the area.

The main directions of action are ensuring increase presence of American military forces on  national territory and in the Black Sea area, developing technical-military cooperation, intensifying the program of exercises carried out in Romania, in allied and bilateral frame with US forces, in order to consolidate NATO presence and visibility in the southern segment of the Eastern flank, MapN mentioned.

“The meeting was also a good opportunity for the American party to point out Romania's contribution to efforts of equal sharing of responsibilities in all its dimensions: allocated resources, development  capabilities and participation in allied operations, missions and activities,” the press release shows.

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At the meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday, Romania's acting Defence Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca underscored the importance of a robust, efficient and credible NATO presence in Romania, given the complex and volatile security situation in the Black Sea area.

According to the Romanian Defence Ministry (MApN), in his speech to the meeting Ciuca presented the latest developments in the implementation of measures circumscribed to the tailored forward presence (tFP) and emphasised the importance of the NATO contributions to the strengthening of the fighting capacity of the Multinational Brigade South-East (MN BDE-SE), to the continuation under the best circumstances of the enhanced air policing mission (eAP), as well as to the establishment of the Headquarters Multinational Division South East (HQ MNC-SE).

He also pointed to Romania continuing the implementation of its commitment in the field of burden sharing, underscoring that this year a percentage of 2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was allocated for defence spending, funds that will allow investments to be focused on the necessary capabilities and equipment to successfully face the security conditions in the region.

On the second day of the ministerial meeting, the NATO defence ministers had an exchange of views on the implementation of the strengthened posture of deterrence and defence and equitable burden sharing.

The session addressed a number of additional NATO response recommendations to Russia's development of medium-range missile systems, as well as the developments in the implementation of the NATO Readiness Initiative, the implementation of the NATO Command Structure, the commissioning/preparation of the SACEUR area of responsibility, and NATO cyber defence.

The last working session, in the format of the Resolute Support Mission (RSM), provided a framework for discussing the progress with the peace process in Afghanistan and the prospects for the future developments in the Resolute Support Mission, with the participation of operational partners.

Ciuca emphasised the importance that Romania attaches to the continuation of NATO's commitment in Afghanistan, as well as the national interest in the successful unfolding of the peace process, with a major role for the evolution of NATO involvement in the region. He said that Romania will maintain its contribution to Afghanistan, in line with the NATO plans, adding that Romania is currently the fifth largest NATO contributor to the Resolute Support Mission.

On the side-lines of the NATO ministerial meeting, Ciuca had a bilateral meeting with his Luxembourgian counterpart Francois Bausch to discuss the prospects for intensifying bilateral defence co-operation and current security and defence affairs on NATO agenda. He also mentioned the national efforts to set up the Headquarters Multinational Division South East (HQ MNC-SE) and asked for support to implement the projects associated with the development of this structure. The two dignitaries discussed a series of multinational initiatives being set up within the NATO framework that Romania and Luxembourg could join as part of equitable burden sharing.   

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Friday, February 14, 2020