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DefMin Fifor says Black Sea region faces Russia's aggressive intention to militarise it

Mihai Fifor

Romanian Defence Minister Mihai Fifor said on Friday during a visit to the 57th Mihai Kogalniceanu Air Base that the region finds itself in a "complex security situation" amidst "the aggressive attitude of the Russian Federation displayed in its intention of militarising the Black Sea and by increasing the military forces in the region and the deployment of new capabilities.'

Accompanying Fifor on his visit was his Canadian counterpart Harjit Singh Sajjan, whom he told that the presence of Canadian partners in Romania as part of the NATO air policing mission sends a message of solidarity and contributes to the implementation of reinsurance measures in a regional context. He also commended his Canadian counterpart for the constant support provided by Canada and for the contribution of the country to the implementation of the measures related to the enhanced forward presence adapted to all dimensions: air, navy and land.

"I want to thank you once again for your country's contribution by taking up positions at the Multinational Division Command and the Command of the Multinational Brigade Southeast in Craiova. I am pleased to reiterate our appreciation for the presence of the Canadian Air Force, namely about 135 military deployed at the air base of Mihail Kogalniceanu and CF-18 airplanes performing enhanced air police missions between September and December 2018. I also want to point out the professionalism and dedication with which they carry out their missions in Romania as they implicitly contribute to the maintenance of a climate of peace and stability, both in the region and in the Euro-Atlantic area," said Fifor.

He added that people in the Black Sea region "are going through difficult times."

"We are going through difficult times in this region where we find ourselves in a complex security situation and facing an aggressive attitude on the part of the Russian Federation which intends to militarise the Black Sea and increase its military capabilities in the region while deploying new capabilities. These are the things that both Romanian and Canadian soldiers can notice every day on Romania's soil," Fifor said.

He also said that meeting his Canadian counterpart Harjit Singh Sajjan is also an opportunity to address issues such as strengthening a deterrent and defensive posture, effective in countering threats to NATO security, as well as Romania's bid to host a NATO army corps and to identify concrete co-operation ways for the commissioning of such capability to contribute to the architecture of a coherent command and control structure for NATO's south-eastern flank.

"I want to use this opportunity to reconfirm our desire to continue collaboration that is very valuable to Romania, which, along with an intense programme of joint exercises, the affiliation of forces and personnel with the NATO command and control bodies in Romania, will enhance the architecture for bilateral co-operation," said Fifor.

He also referenced the importance Romania will attach to transatlantic dialogue while holding the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019.

"On a different note, the importance of intensifying the dialogue between our countries is all the more relevant as Romania will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from January next year. Particular attention will be paid to strengthening the transatlantic relationship as a priority of our presidency as well as of the intensification of the NATO-EU cooperation. One thing is certain: that we cannot think of the whole architecture of European security without a strong transatlantic link and I am convinced that we will be able to co-operate on this issue as well," concluded Fifor.



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