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DefMin Ciuca on Middle East situation: Right now we have no reason to panic in Romania


Minister of National Defence Nicolae Ciuca said on Wednesday that measures had been taken to strengthen information exchanges and activities to monitor the situation in the Middle East, mentioning that there is a permanent communication with the Prime Minister and the president of the country.

"From the beginning we have been in contact with our troops from Iraq, we have two structures there: one participating in the NATO Training Mission in Iraq and the other one as part of the Anti-Daesh Coalition. Measures have been taken to strengthen the monitoring activities and also the exchange of information at the level of all structures in the national defence system and also at the level of structures within the North Atlantic Alliance with our strategic partners, particularly with the United States," Ciuca said at the hearings from the Senate Foreign Policy and Defence Commissions, where he is being heard alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu.

Minister Ciuca added that right now Romania has no reason to panic. "The way in which the security situation develops is not mathematical, which is why I prefer not to give you figures, but I will tell you instead that what I wish for with all responsibility (...) is to calm down the public opinion and say that, right now, there is no reason for us to panic about what might happen. Of course, there is a risk, but the probability that something actually happen is a small one," said Nicolae Ciuca, during the hearing he had with Senate's joint committees for foreign affairs and defence, when the Senators asked him to asses the risk of unwanted events that might be facing the Romanian territory, in the context of the events in Iran and Iraq.

Ciuca said the Romanian troops participating in NATO's training mission in Iraq were relocated.
"The guarantees of security in such a theater of operations are in accordance with the specificity of the mission and all that it means assumption of the military profession and the specific elements of the mission they carry out. Regarding the Romanian troops specifically, they are part of NATO's training mission and they were relocated so that they are completely out of danger and their security is not threatened at the moment. Those who are part of the Coalition against Daesh are also carrying out their contingency plans, according to the elements established at Coalition level," Ciuca said.

The Minister of Defence also gave the assurance on the occasion of the hearing that the first Patriot system, of the total seven, will become operational this year.

"In terms of achieving the air defence capabilities in the Patriot system, I believe it's very important to mention that our analysis that we carried out some time ago proved to be very relevant for the threats we are witnessing today, and the Patriot system is precisely a capability designed to combat such threats. It will become operational - the first of the seven systems - this year and it will most definitely become part of the air defence system of Romania," said Ciuca.

The ministers of foreign affairs and defence participated in a joint meeting of the committees for foreign affairs and defence of the Senate focusing the Middle East situation.