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Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Pavel: Romania - steady, trustworthy ally

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Romania is a steady and trustworthy ally, stated on Friday the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (CMC), General Petr Pavel, commending our country's contribution to the sharing of responsibilities within the North Atlantic Alliance, both through the allocation of 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defence, and the participation in military operations and missions.

I appreciate Romania's role in NATO as a steady and trustworthy ally. Romania not only contributes to the sharing of responsibilities through the allocation of 2 percent (of the GDP, ed. n.) to Defence, which is undoubtedly, a significant contribution, but has an equally important participation in NATO operations and missions, General Petr Paul specified at a conference in Bucharest, in the context of his visit to Romania.

He mentioned in this respect the mission in Afghanistan and Kosovo, but also the permanent naval groups in which our country has a significant participation.

Romania has an important role in ensuring security on all three components — land, air and maritime. Moreover, Romania hosts an important U.S. objective, the anti-missile shield at Deveselu. Last but not least, your country participates in a lot of exercises, and the one taking place in this period — the 'Saber Guardian' — is just one example. These exercises are crucial to NATO's deterrence and defence strategy. In this way, it is clear to every adversary that NATO will defend all its members in the event of an attack, said General Pavel.

Asked about the exercises that Russia is also conducting these days, NATO CMC Chairman stated that we are facing "a problem of transparency" here.

All countries, Russia included, have the right to organise exercises. Including what we call unannounced exercises. A major problem is how they approach transparency. NATO observes the rules imposed in the Vienna process, which means that any exercise that will be organised with more than 9,000 soldiers will be announced and observers will participate when the exercise exceeds 30,000 soldiers. Unfortunately, we do not see Russia observing the same transparency line. We have made some progress in our joint dialogue with Russia and we have set up communication through our mutual briefings on the exercises we will organise. Yesterday (Thursday, ed. n.), all NATO ambassadors were notified by Russia about the organisation of the exercise, General Petr Pavel specified.

Defence Minister Adrian Tutuianu said on Friday that the National Defence Ministry's (MApN) objective is to pay the Army's endowment systems through multi-year allocations, so that in 2017 an upfront payment on certain components be made. 

"These 12-15 days since taking over the mandate, we have carried out an analysis of the situation of the budget execution in the first five months of the year and a forecast for the coming months, and I assure you that my intention and that of the Government I represent here is that the 2 percent (of the GDP, ed. n.) be effectively spent for the needs of the Army, with the indication that a portion of the money is destined for endowment, and a portion to other expenses, such as salaries of military personnel, military pensions, goods and services that are needed by the Army. A large share of expenses will be related to the endowment systems, we are currently discussing about with the State Department and afterwards with the U.S. Congress and we hope to have an answer in the shortest time, we estimate September at the latest, so as to go through the necessary parliamentary procedures and be able to make payments for the purchased combat technique," the minister said in a press statement at the MApN headquarters. 

He added that the ministry is interested in identifying the appropriate procedures, so that the procurement process takes place as soon as possible. 

The Minister recalled that in May, the Romanian Parliament approved eight Army endowment programmes (a multi-purpose corvette, a mobile missile launch system, the upgrading of the MLI 84M combat machine, 8X8 and 4X4 armored conveyor, C4 systems with ISTAR integration capabilities, long range ground-to-air missile systems, SHORAD integrated weapon system - Stage I, long-range multiple launch rocket system). He added that the operational requirements for each of these programmes were substantiated by the ministry specialists. 

"We are interested in establishing a coordinated, secure, integrated and mobile air defence system. I want you to know that we are in the following situation: the Defence and Security Cooperation Agency has sent an agreement of the State Department - we are in an interim situation - we are waiting for the Congress to approve, and then, at expert level, to discuss this topic. I therefore think it is premature to say more as long as these steps have not been taken. Obviously, after going through these steps and finalizing the negotiations, we will also find the solution to promote such a project. It will probably be the one you know, that is to promote a special bill that will receive Parliament's vote," he further said.

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