Romania's Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a telephone conversation on Tuesday in which they discussed Romania's contribution to NATO, energy security and the rule of law.
"During the conversation, the importance of coordination with partners who share the same values and strategic priorities was emphasised, as well as the need to promote democracy and the rule of law, including by strengthening strategic resilience at the international level," reads a press statement released by the Foreign Ministry (MAE).
Aurescu assured that Romania will continue to be a strong and reliable strategic partner to the USA, as well as a staunchy NATO ally.
According to the US Department of State, Blinken "commended Romania for being a stalwart NATO Ally and for its commitment to bolstering security in the Black Sea region."
The two officials also reviewed the recent developments in the bilateral relationship between Romania and the US in strategic areas, expressing interest in the implementation of initiatives aimed at strengthening energy security. Bilateral development co-operation in the civilian nuclear area and efforts to diversify gas supply sources in Europe were also discussed with emphasis on the importance of strategic gas resources on the Black Sea continental shelf, the exploitation of which could significantly improve regional security energy, according to MAE.
MAE quotes Blinken as praising Romania for its progress with the rule of law, judiciary reform and the fight against corruption, which is relevant at a regional level as well. He is also quoted as saying these measures contribute decisively to the creation of an attractive business and investment environment for American economic partners, emphasising that the development, expansion and diversification of the economic relationship with Romania remains a priority for the US.
Aurescu mentioned the priority of the Romanian government regarding Romania's accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and expressed his conviction that the US will continue to support this desideratum.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy also reiterated the importance of the two major regional interconnection projects: Rail2Sea and Via Carpathia promoted by Romania, including under the Three Seas Initiative, with a direct positive strategic impact on both the region's economic development and military mobility. He pleaded for the US financial involvement in carrying out the two projects, emphasising that, in addition to an increased US military presence in the region, it is necessary to strengthen the US economic and investment presence.
He also highlighted Romania's interest in fast access to the Visa Waiver programme and the importance of making tangible progress following the intensification of the political and technical dialogue in recent months on that matter. Also discussed was deepening co-operation in combating negative phenomena such as human trafficking, according to AGERPRES.
Blinken also commanded Romania for its actions as Chairman-in-Office of the Community of Democracies and expressed US interest in cooperating with Romania on that level.
The telephone conversation also included an exchange of views on Black Sea security, which is essential for transatlantic security, and reiterated a joint assessment of the persistent security challenges at NATO's eastern border. Aurescu presented the main components that guide Romania's action, including the need to strengthen NATO's deterrence and defence posture in the Black Sea, NATO's eastern flank.
He highlighted the importance that Romania attaches to increasing US military presence in Romania.
The two heads of diplomacy also had an exchange of views on NATO adaptation and NATO 2030, the process of reflection on the future of the alliance. Support for the process coordinated by NATO secretary general and for the proposals put forward by him was highlighted along with the need to adopt a new NATO strategic concept that fits the current security context.
Sectoral co-operation in other areas of common priority interest was also discussed, such as strengthening the resilience of the transatlantic community, to which Romania will contribute by the establishment of a Euro-Atlantic resilience centre. At the same time, Aurescu invited American resilience specialists to join the Bucharest-based centre. Blinken commended the initiative and agreed to keep a close dialogue on it.
Bilaterally, the two dignitaries mentioned the 10th anniversary this year of the Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century between the United States of America and Romania and ten years since the coming into force of an agreement on the deployment to Romania of parts of the US ballistic missile defence system, as well as five years since the ballistic missile defence system facility at Deveselu became operational.