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President Iohannis, Portuguese PM Costa discuss reinforcement of NATO's eastern flank, support for Ukraine

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President Klaus Iohannis met on Thursday at the Cotroceni Palace with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to discuss prospects for bilateral cooperation, as well as the security situation at the EU border and ways to support Ukraine.

According to a release by the Presidential Administration, President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Antonio Costa welcomed the excellent bilateral cooperation which has seen a positive dynamics in recent years, "enhanced by cultural affinities, projects in various fields, convergent goals and close bilateral, European and international coordination of the two countries."

The two leaders exchanged views on topical issues on the European agenda, dwelling also on the European Commission's recent proposals for energy and defense, as well as for supporting Ukraine's reconstruction process - which will also be on the agenda of the special European Council meeting at the end of May.

The head of the state thanked Prime Minister Antonio Costa for Portugal's decision to join the multinational NATO presence in Romania with a contingent of ground troops.

"Through this gesture of solidarity and unity, Portugal has joined the common efforts to strengthen the allied deterrence posture on the eastern flank," the Presidential Administration said.

The sides also welcomed the signing of the Romania - Portugal defense cooperation agreement.

The two leaders discussed ways to coordinate and continue concrete support for Ukraine and refugees from this country, with President Iohannis presenting Romania's efforts in this regard.

In this context, ways to provide to the Republic of Moldova political support with its application for EU membership, as well as economic and financial help for dealing with the high number of refugees and the security challenges were also addressed.

President Klaus Iohannis stressed that Romania, together with France and Germany, will organize within soon a new meeting of the International Moldova Support Platform and invited Portugal to join these efforts.

The head of the Romanian state reiterated Romania's support for Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia's legitimate aspirations to become EU members.

In preparation for the NATO Summit in Madrid, President Iohannis underscored the importance of achieving ambitious results, so that NATO's new Strategic Concept responds adequately to the serious security situation created on the eastern flank by the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine.

The Portuguese Prime Minister is on a working visit to Romania during which he met with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, Chamber of Deputies' Speaker Marcel Ciolacu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Sorin Grindeanu, chairman of the Senate's Committee on European Affairs Angel Tilvar, and Vice-Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, MEP Victor Negrescu.

Later in the day the Portuguese Prime Minister is scheduled to visit together with President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca the 1st "Olt" Military Training Battalion in Caracal, Olt County.

Approximately 200 servicemen from Portugal have been deployed to Romania this year and are jointly training with troops of the 22nd Infantry Battalion Romanati, as part of the South-East Multinational Brigade.

The Portuguese military arrived to Romania in April this year and will be staying in Romania for six months.

The action is part of NATO's tailored forward presence initiative.

About 100 servicemen from Portugal were present in Romania last year and participated in joint training actions with Romanian troops, also in Caracal, for three months, in the period September - December.

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Friday, May 20, 2022