Joint press point

with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the President of Romania Traian Basescu

  • 19 Nov. 2009
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  • Last updated: 20 Nov. 2009 15:38

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (Secretary General of NATO): Good afternoon. First of all, welcome to President Basescu. It's really a great pleasure to welcome you to the NATO Headquarters.

Let me take this opportunity to express my strong appreciation of your strong commitment to our transatlantic alliance and also thank Romania and the Romanian people warmly for your contributions to our operations and missions; not least of course, in Afghanistan.

And Afghanistan has been one of the important items on our agenda today. We are right now in a very intensive phase of consultation among all allies. We will very soon take important decisions on the way forward in Afghanistan on the strategy and troop numbers.

In particular, I would stress the need for a strong training mission in Afghanistan, with the aim to train and educate Afghan soldiers and Afghan police. Our goal should be to hand over gradually, province-by-province, lead responsibility for security to the Afghans themselves, as their own capacity develops.

And therefore we need to train more Afghan soldiers and more Afghan police, and I urge all allies to contribute to our training mission in Afghanistan.

The President and I have also discussed NATO's open door policy. We agreed that it is of utmost importance to continue our open door policy. My vision is to see all countries in the Western Balkans integrated in our Euro-Atlantic structures in the EU and in NATO, and I hope we can see progress in that respect in the coming years and I hope that one first step could be taken at the upcoming Foreign Ministers' meeting in December.

Finally, we have also discussed the future of NATO. We are in the process of preparing a new Strategic Concept, which will describe the core functions and tasks of NATO. We have to make sure that NATO adapts to the security challenges of the 21st century, and I appreciate very much the Romanian support in that respect, and I look very much forward to cooperating with you in the transformation and renewal of our alliance.

Mr. President.

TRAIAN BASESCU (President of Romania): Thank you very much, Secretary General. You will have a comprehensive translation?

INTERPRETER: I've been only told to translate what you're saying.

TRAIAN BASESCU: Okay. (Interpretation) Mr. Secretary General, I would like to begin by extending my thanks to you for undertaking a visit to the Headquarters of NATO and holding discussions with you.

The agenda of our talks included very important issues, just as you mentioned. And I will make a few remarks with reference to each of the topics.

As for Afghanistan, Romania will remain strongly committed and will fulfil its mission, and we will openly analyze the requests of the military commanders that all allies increase their contribution in this territory. We will do this with our allies.

We understand very well that as long as the Taliban forces will not be defeated in Afghanistan they will extend to the Caspian Sea and to the Black Sea. And therefore we analyze very openly the possibility to increase our troops, both with regards to training and to combat troops.

As for the new Strategic Concept, just as we expressed our view during the meeting, during the discussions, we are keen on maintaining unmodified, unchanged the Article 5 in the treaty.

And at the same time I believe the Alliance has to find solutions... referring to the neighbourhood of the allied states.

As for the enlargement, Romania supports with no reservation the enlargement towards the Western Balkans and particularly to Montenegro, Bosnia- Herzegovina and Serbia, twice Serbia. As Romania believes that Serbia is the key to peace in the Balkans.

We also address during our talks the security topics in the Republic of Moldova. As well as the perspective of cooperation with reference to the partnership NATO-Georgia and NATO-Ukraine.

And not lastly, we've addressed the topic of fully implementing the CFE.

Mr. Secretary General, thank you very much. (Interpretation Ends)