Publicat: 8 Iunie, 2017 - 08:47

Președintele României, Klaus Iohannis, a susținut miercuri, 7 iunie a.c., la Washington, D.C., o alocuțiune în cadrul dezbaterii cu tema '20 Years After — The Relevance of the Romanian — U.S. Strategic Partnership in the Current International and Security Context', organizate de Heritage Foundation.

Vă prezentăm în continuare textul alocuțiunii:

'Thank you so much, President Feulner,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear fellows and friends of the Heritage Foundation,

Dear friends of Romania,

I am delighted to be here in Washington, to share with you my thoughts around this milestone moment for our bilateral relationship: 2017 marks the 20 years' anniversary of the United States-Romanian Strategic Partnership.

One thing is very clear to us and we are proud to say it! The Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States has been a key factor in shaping my country's strategic profile as a NATO ally and EU member.

And I am happy to share our success story with President Trump on Friday, when we will hold talks at the White House. Our meeting will be important not only on a political level, but it will have a major positive impact on the Romanian public back home, on the vibrant Romanian community in the US, on the business communities in both our countries and on all those who have put longstanding efforts making our relationship more solid.

To further underscore our enduring friendship, I will mention that this 20 years' anniversary comes in our 137th year of diplomatic relations, established in 1880. In addition to this, in 2018, my country is celebrating the centenary of its Great Union, an event which would not have been possible without the President Woodrow Wilson's principled commitment to democracy and national self-determination.

Dear participants,

This Strategic Partnership with the US is and will always be a core pillar of Romania's foreign and security policy.

Its remarkable success is due not only to our two countries' shared vision and political commitment, but, most importantly, to the genuine sympathy and friendship between our two nations. My country is the most pro-American country in the European Union. Over 70% of Romanians, this is what polls show, have positive feelings towards the US, and this is translated into concrete action.

These positive feelings also originate from the consistent support provided by the USA after the fall of the Iron Curtain. This support was enhanced after the Strategic Partnership was launched in 1997. It was a real catalyst for progress and modernization efforts and for Romania's deep democratic, economic and social changes, which resulted in Romania's joining NATO and the European Union.

We have achieved, throughout these 20 years, tangible results and concrete progress to give substance to our Strategic Partnership. Romania stands now as one of America's most reliable NATO ally in Europe, an active and committed partner in the efforts to ensure stability, security and prosperity in the region and beyond.

We face today's geopolitical challenges shoulder to shoulder, we stand together in the battle against terrorism and our soldiers train and fight side by side. We have successfully worked together in areas such as security, defense, law enforcement and the rule of law.

Dear friends,

Security and defense represent a key component of the US-Romanian Strategic Partnership and has brought substantial results. I would like to once again underline the unity of vision between the United States and Romania on virtually all major international security issues.

As a dependable ally, Romania is doing its share. This year we have fulfilled our objective, as you mentioned, Mr. President, assumed under NATO auspices, of allocating 2% of GDP for defense expenditures.

This makes us the first Ally to reach this target in the current US Administration's mandate and the 6th NATO member to do it. I am happy to mention that this was one of the top priorities on my agenda, when I assumed office.

And it was adopted with virtually unanimous political support. We aim to maintain the 2% as a minimum level for at least a decade. It will enable Romania to continue major acquisition programs, expanding the potential of long-term cooperation also with the US defense industry.

At the same time, we are aware that fighting international terrorism is crucial. That is why Romania firmly supports the US in combating this worldwide plague. Romania is engaged in the anti-ISIS coalition. Our country has pledged military trainers and other resources in Iraq, including stabilization and communication support.

We stand together in Afghanistan, where the Romanian troop contingent is the 4th largest among NATO Allies, with almost 700 troops on ground.

My country is also proud to host the first Aegis Ashore missile defense site on its territory — capable of countering ballistic missile threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area. This is one of the most important political-military projects of our Strategic Partnership.

The site in Deveselu — this is how the place is called — hosting around 200 Navy troops, has become operational last year and was integrated with the NATO Missile Defense System. It is highly important to continue and finalize the European Phased Adaptive Approach and, based on it, the NATO Missile Defense System, since Iran continues its ballistic missile program.

We conduct intensive joint training of US and Romanian forces in some of the best equipped forward facilities on Romanian soil, such as the Mihail Kogălniceanu base, very important for the pre-deployment of US troops and military equipment.

In addition, the recent acquisition of U.S. F-16 fighter jets has increased Romania's capabilities to contribute to the security of our regional allies and it has laid the ground for potential long term cooperation with the U.S. defense industry. Our cooperation extends in critical fields such as cyber-security, intelligence and energy security.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Romania shares the U.S. commitment to transatlantic security, and fully supports endeavors to improve the effectiveness of NATO and strengthen its capabilities to address all current challenges. This can only be done by reinforcing the core pillar of the Alliance, which is collective defense, backed by a robust and credible deterrence.

Thus, we are particularly grateful to our U.S. ally for its strong political support and substantial concrete contribution to projects such as the multinational brigade hosted by Romania, the enhanced maritime presence in the Black Sea or the Combined Joint Enhanced Training Program.

The presence of US troops in Romania, complementary to the NATO's Forward Presence, is, for us, the strongest signal of support and solidarity. That is why we welcome the Trump administration decision to consistently increase funding for the U.S. European Reassurance Initiative. It is a very advantageous investment in our collective defense.

It has enabled Allies, such as Romania, to upgrade and expand their own infrastructure and capabilities, increasing the scope and size of cooperation with our US partners. However, NATO is not just about capabilities — its foundations lie in allied unity, political commitment and strategic vision. The current security situation in Europe is the most challenging in two decades and clearly underscores the need for transatlantic solidarity.

We face threats and challenges on both the Alliance's East and South. They must be addressed in a coordinated and cohesive manner and this is a challenge in itself.

In the East, Russia attempts to carve out its own sphere of influence by force, through the invasion of Georgia, illegal annexation of Crimea and its heavy militarization, aggression in East Ukraine, military posturing on NATO's borders and malign influence from the Balkans to Western Europe.

Against this background, we believe we need dialogue with Russia, but based on a strong deterrence.

Our own approach must be strategic, coherent and coordinated. We need to keep our unity, inside the European Union, but also within the US — EU relations.

The Black Sea area has an important pivotal role for the transatlantic security. NATO's Eastern flank must be treated, in this logic, in a unitary coherent manner and adequately reinforced, from its North to its South, on all main components — land, sea and air.

Romania is acting within NATO, but also together with its strategic partners Poland and Turkey, to keep the region safer. That is why Romania has developed, together with these two countries, a Trilateral format on security issues. Romania is also, together with Poland, the initiator of the Bucharest Format, including all the 9 Allies on the Eastern Flank. This format is relevant for the U.S. interests in NATO, and for the security of the Eastern neighborhood.

NATO must also continue to support its partners, such as Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.

This is essential for ensuring security and stability in the Eastern Neighborhood.

Romania has strongly supported, at the same time, a close NATO-EU cooperation, on the basis of complementarity. There is simply no alternative to the most powerful and successful alliance in history. The EU can bring a significant contribution to capacity building, supporting research and development, to areas such as cyber or energy security. But a more substantial commitment to common defense by European allies must not result in weakening the transatlantic security link.

Romania remains a faithful Atlanticist EU member — a position that may prove even more important now, as the UK has decided to leave the Union. We will continue to work for the further development of the transatlantic relation, which is, in our view the central pillar for the stability of the overall international system. Romania is, thus, ready and able to strengthen its role to this end, as we are dedicated to both the European project and the Strategic Partnership with the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Besides security, our nations need shared prosperity. Let me thus return to our bilateral relations and focus on our economic engine. Trade and investment are crucial dimensions of our Strategic Partnership, with a high potential for development, providing benefits not only for Romania and the US, but for the region as a whole.

Romania will soon rank the 6th EU's largest country after UK will leave the EU, in terms of population. We are strategically positioned at the crossroad of all major commercial and energy routes in the region, a potential gateway to the EU's common economic space, regional hub for Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Greater Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Romania has experienced a constant upward economic trend over the last seven years, with positive perspectives ahead. Last year we had the highest economic growth in the European Union.

This growth pattern is anchored in a number of highly competitive economic sectors. Romania is one of the largest vehicle manufacturing bases in Central and Eastern Europe. This includes, of course, the Ford plant in Craiova, a partnership that saw its first iteration in 1935. The IT sector is one of the largest and most dynamic in the EU.

Romania is also the least dependent country in the region on gas imports and can become an energy supplier with our resources in the Black Sea.

Dear friends,

As the final and most important enabler of US-Romanian partnership, one must mention the people-to-people connections. Romanian-American friendship has endured and, indeed, flourished, even during some of the most challenging moments of the 20th Century.

Our almost 1 million strong Romanian-American community inside the United States, be they students, professors or entrepreneurs, are proud of this close relationship and work every day to make it stronger.

On the governmental side, working together on Romania's inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program will further strengthen this bond and help us advance on the path to shared prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I want to end my intervention by underlining, once again, that Romania is able to act as a hub for advancing our joint transatlantic agenda in the region. We are at a strategic crossroad, at the Black Sea, and we very well understand to act as a security provider in Europe and beyond.

At the same time, the region is counting on the continued US commitment for its security. For us, the US support means security, prosperity, freedom, democracy and, last but not least, the guarantee that Romania will not go back to some Eastern sphere of influence.

Thank you very much and I look forward to your questions!'

Departamentul Comunicare Publică