Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the President of Romania, Traian Basescu
JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesman): Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary General and the President will each have opening statements and we have time for questions. Secretary General.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (Secretary General of NATO): Good morning. I'm very pleased to welcome President Basescu once again to NATO Headquarters. You're always a very welcome guest here.
I thanked the President for Romania's steadfast commitment to NATO's operations. In particular to our top priority mission in Afghanistan. I count on Romania's continued contribution as we will embark next year in a transition process to empower the Afghans to take the lead for their own security.
To that end we need to train and educate Afghan soldiers and Afghan police. This is also the reason why I'm extremely grateful that Romania has focused so much on our training mission in Afghanistan.
NATO is now in the sprint to the Lisbon Summit. A Summit which I believe will be one of the most important summits in NATO's history. President Basescu and I discussed three issues that will be permanent on the agenda.
First, the Strategic Concept. The Strategic Concept will shape the Alliance for the next decade. We agreed that with three weeks to go the Strategic Concept is in good shape. It will be ambitious. It will be pragmatic, and it will strengthen NATO's role as an essential source of stability in an uncertain world.
Second, we discussed missile defence. Romania has always been at the forefront when it comes to understanding the threat posed by missile proliferation. And in shouldering NATO's role and responsibility to defend against it.
We share the view that NATO, as an Alliance, should develop the capability to defend allied territory and populations against missile attacks.
We also share the view that the Lisbon Summit is the time to take the decision and we agree that at the Summit in Lisbon NATO should also invite Russia to cooperate with us on missile defence.
Finally, we discussed relations with Russia. President Basescu is a firm advocate of deepening ties between NATO and Russia. So am I. I will travel to Moscow on the 5th of November. I'm very pleased that there will be a NATO-Russia Council Summit in Lisbon on the 20th of November and I look forward to discussing with our Russian partners about making the NATO-Russia Council Summit a success.
TRAIAN BASESCU (President of Romania): Firstly, I would like to extend my thanks to the Secretary General for our meeting today. And both for the Strategic Concept that was conveyed to the member states, including Romania. In the framework of this new Strategic Concept Romania finds its security interests represented, reflected and I believe that all the member states do so find their interests there reflected integrally.
We believe that this new Strategic Concept is a balanced one, and is an excellent basis for a successful Summit in Lisbon.
Our talks were focused very much also on the situation in Afghanistan, on what we have to do next in Afghanistan. We both agreed on the progress made by the Afghans, both in terms of control of the Afghan territory and in terms of the evolution of the Afghan security forces. And for this reason, apart from honouring its commitments assumed of increasing its troops in Afghanistan, Romania will also pay special attention to sending, to deploying trainers to Afghanistan.
Moreover I can inform you that the first contingent of Afghan troops will visit Romania in the near future, with the purpose of training. And at the same time in the civil university 12 scholarships have already been granted to Afghan young students.
I have also talked with Mr. Secretary General about the cooperation between NATO and the Russian Federation. Romania believes that the Russian Federation can be an extremely important partner for NATO for the security of the region.
Not lastly, and perhaps the most topic on the agenda, along with the strengthening of the ties between NATO and Russia, Russia and NATO, another topic, as I was saying, is the one related to a new missile defence system. As you know Romania has a bilateral agreement with the U.S. in this respect, which covers its security needs, which covers Romania's security needs. But our objective is that the missile defence shield becomes a reality of NATO and not only bilateral reality of the relations between Romania and the U.S. or between U.S. and the Netherlands.
So we believe that this bilateral basis is not the proper solution and is not an agreement in compliance with the fifth article of our treaty.
We will support with no reservation NATO's commitment in finalizing, in concretizing such missile defence shield at NATO level. We've also addressed the need for leaving an open door for the NATO enlargement, and I refer here particularly to the Western Balkans. We are pleased of how Georgia's integration perspective is considered, and so on.
Q: (Inaudible...) Radio Romania. A question for the Secretary General. What are the prospects for an answer to Russia's demand regarding the deployment of the NATO troops in the new member countries? Do you expect some clarification of the discussion in Moscow, or at the NRC Summit in Lisbon?
And a question for the President in Romania as well. Mr. President, two days ago... two days ago you stated that you are pleased, you're happy with the text of the new Strategic Concept, as you said, but you intended to make a nuanced modification with respect to Georgia. To what extent the talks held today met your expectations?
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: The question about deployment of troops and stationing of troops in Europe is part of the talks about the so-called CFE Treaty. The treaty which constitutes the framework for conventional arms control and disarmament in Europe. And in that respect it is an issue to be discussed.
I would not expect that issue to be solved at the Summit in Lisbon. Talks will continue within the framework of the CFE Treaty.
TRAIAN BASESCU: The Georgia issue was discussed with Mr. Secretary General and our interpretation was a bit more reluctant compared to the real content of the text because Georgia does maintain its prospect for NATO integration when the conditions will be created, namely when the standards for becoming a NATO member state will be met.
Q: (Inaudible...), correspondent (inaudible...) in Lisbon, and my second question to President Basescu, which will be Romania's contribution in the transition period in Afghanistan? You've already referred to the training of trainers. What other details can you give us?
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: As regards missile defence, we have still some negotiations on that, but I feel confident that the Summit in Lisbon will take the decision to start the development of a NATO-based missile defence system.
Already years ago we decided to develop a NATO-based missile defence system to protect our deployed troops, so-called theatre missile defence system. Now we're going to expand that protection to cover the whole population and we can do that by linking together existing systems. Technically it's possible. Economically it is manageable and now we need the political decision and I feel confident that we will take that decision in Lisbon.
TRAIAN BASESCU: With regards to Romania's contribution in the transition period, there are many things that we can do, which the most important thing that we will do is what we did in Iraq as well. We will stay there until our mission will have been fulfilled. This is the first thing.
Moreover, as we already started to deploy trainers for the Afghan security troops, Romania will also deploy 66 (inaudible) army troops in the next period with a view to starting to involve other institutions apart from the army, as well as public (inaudible) institutions namely. We will continue to increase the numbers allocated for Afghan youth in the Romanian universities and moreover we believe that in the near future all the member states of NATO should pay very much attention to creating a party of public servants and my statement is based on the fact that Afghanistan was never administered integrally in its entire territory.
Or with the creation of the security forces we should also create a civil administration that would be capable to take over the tasks that refer to the population, from the NATO armed forces which are now in Afghanistan.
So we can have very many contributions in Afghanistan. Thank you.
JAMES APPATHURAI: Okay. Thank you very much.