Clarifications after visit to Bulgaria by Romanian president Klaus Iohannis.
Romania has not proposed setting up a Black Sea
fleet, but a joint naval initiative in the Black Sea area, together with
Bulgaria and Turkey, to carry out training exercises under the NATO umbrella.
This clarification was made by Romania's president Klaus Iohannis at the end of
his visit to Bulgaria, after the Bulgarian head of state, Prime Minister and
Defence Minister excluded their country's participation in a joint fleet
outside of NATO. President Iohannis has stressed that the North-Atlantic
Alliance cannot and does not want to have its own fleet in the Black Sea area.
"The so-called naval initiative refers to joint
training and exercises. We believe that this initiative should be held under
the umbrella of the North-Atlantic Alliance, because all these Black Sea
countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, are NATO allies. The misunderstanding
probably occurred in relation to the concept of NATO fleet. Nobody will set up
any NATO fleet. NATO cannot and does not wish to have its own fleet in the
Black Sea area."
The Romanian President made the clarification after
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said it was not a good idea for his
country to be part of a joint fleet in the Black Sea, as this would trigger a
reaction from Russia. "We want investment, we want to develop tourism at
European level, we want to see tourist boats and yachts in the Black Sea, not
military vessels. We could only speak of a possible presence of NATO military
ships in the area in the event of a massive influx of migrants if their routes
through the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas are blocked," said the Bulgarian Prime
Minister Boiko Borisov. The Romanian prime minister Dacian Ciolos has also
stated that the proposal was by no means about setting up a fleet in the Black
Sea, but about establishing naval cooperation under the aegis of NATO. Dacian
"There are two major points that need to be
clarified: it's not about creating a fleet, but about establishing a means of
cooperation among the NATO member countries. Secondly, it's not about a
three-party cooperation, but about cooperation under the aegis of NATO. This
was the proposal, and I believe, judging by the latest statements made by the
Bulgarian officials, that Bulgaria is open to such an initiative."
Romania's proposal, whose main goal, at first at
least, is to achieve a level of compatibility among the naval forces of the
three NATO allies - Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey - will most likely be included
on the agenda of talks of the NATO summit due next month in Warsaw.