Increased NATO involvement in the Middle East would be, according to the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, opportune in terms of the region’s security and reconstruction.
The worsening of the security situation in the Middle East is mainly affecting the stability of Iraq, of the entire region and also of the world. And the rising tension in the region is not benefiting anyone. Now that tensions seem to have calmed a little bit, it’s high time the international community acted to consolidate peace in the region. This is what the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis told a press conference on Thursday in Bucharest when he referred to the latest developments in the Middle East. Fortunately, Klaus Iohannis said, Romania’s interests have not been affected so far, in the sense that the security of the Romanian citizens and of the Romanian troops in Iraq has not been affected.
Early this week, the authorities had announced that the 14 Romanian soldiers deployed in Iraq were relocated, and that they were safe and sound, just like the 180 Romanian civilians in the Iraqi region of Erbil which was hit by Iranian missiles. According to President Iohannis, Bucharest is cooperating with its partners within the EU and NATO and with its strategic partners at bilateral level, mainly with the US, for tension in the Middle East to deescalate.
Klaus Iohannis: “Romania supports the unity, independence, sovereignty and integrity of the Iraqi territory. Along the years Romania has had an important contribution to the efforts of stabilizing and reconstructing this country as part of collective international actions. This process needs to continue first and foremost to the benefit of the Iraqi citizens and to avoid wasting substantial effort in this regard. Our common fight – of the international partners and of the Iraqi institutions and citizens – against terrorism needs to continue firmly. Nobody needs new conflict hotspots, we need to boost efforts to bring peace to the region and provide the security and safety necessary for reconstruction.”
An increased NATO involvement in the Middle East, as the US President Donald Trump has proposed, would be, according to President Iohannis, opportune in terms of the region’s security and reconstruction, and Romania is interested in contributing. Actually, NATO is currently looking into ways to respond to the proposal made by President Trump to get more involved in the Middle East, as announced by the Alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The latter had talks on Thursday in Brussels with the Romanian PM Ludovic Orban and thanked Romania for its contribution to the NATO mission of training the Iraqi troops.
Romania plays a key role within NATO and has an essential contribution in providing security in the Black Sea region and not only – Jens Stoltenberg went on to say. He also talked about the need to invest in defense and reminded that Bucharest had already allotted 2% of the GDP for defense purposes. Jens Stoltenberg concluded that he counted on Romania and the other allies to carry on with the same determination, and received assurances from the Romanian PM that Romania would support the Alliance in reaching its targets. (translation by L. Simion)