Secretary General pays visit to Bucharest for talks with Romanian officials
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed the Allied-led mission in Afghanistan, Smart Defence and NATO’s Open Door policy in talks with top Romanian government officials in Bucharest on Friday (24 May 2013). “Romania is a committed Ally and a strong contributor to our operations,” the Secretary General said. “The dedication and determination of your forces is displayed daily in Afghanistan and in Kosovo.”
During his visit, the Secretary General held talks with President Traian Basescu, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean, and Defence Minister Mircea Dusa. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen noted that in Afghanistan NATO’s goal is within reach. “Afghan forces are increasingly capable, confident and in command. This year they will be taking the lead for security across the country as our troops shift from a combat role to a support role,” he said.
The issue of defence spending amid difficult economic times was also discussed. The Secretary General welcomed Romania’s recent decision to increase defence expenditure with the aim to reach two percent of gross domestic product by 2016. “We need to hold the line and start investing more as our economies start to recover,” he said. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said the most efficient use of defence funds was for all Allies to invest in multinational initiatives to fill capability gaps such as heavy transport planes and intelligence drones. During his talks Mr. Fogh Rasmussen also thanked Romania for its role in building strong NATO ties with partners in the Western Balkans and the Black Sea region.
The Secretary General is wrapping up his visit with a speech at the University of Bucharest where he will stress that NATO will keep its door open for new members to help complete a Europe whole, free and at peace. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen will also receive a doctorate honoris causa for his leadership in Denmark, in Europe and in NATO.