Romania, invited by US to join missile shield

Romania has been invited by US President Barack Obama to join in the development of the US missile defence system, Romania’s President Traian Basescu informed on Thursday after a meeting of Romania’s Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT).

Basescu mentioned that ground-based interceptors of the system will be deployed in Romania. ‘I am informing the public opinion of Romania that US President Barack Obama has invited Romania to join in the development of the US missile defence system,’ said Basescu.
He mentioned that the message of the US president was brought to Bucharest by Ellen Taucher, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, currently in Romania ahead of a US expert team, who met President Basescu before the CSAT meeting.

‘The gradual and adaptive development of the missile defence system in Europe that will also have some components deployed in Romania is fully in line with the decisions of the 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit and the Kehl Summit that reiterated the principles of indivisible security and solidarity among the NATO allies,’ said Basescu.

The President mentioned that Romania will house ground-based interceptors of the missile defence system. ‘The calendar agreed upon with the US is aimed at making the relevant facilities operational in 2015,’ said Basescu. The President underscored that the new system is not intended to be used against Russia. ‘There is something I want to categorically underscore, namely that Romania will not house a system meant against Russia, but against other threats,’ the President said.

He added that the system is designed to defend against a new category of threats and that the old location of the system would only partially cover the western part of Romania. ‘The new location guarantees full coverage of Romania against any ballistic missile strike or any strike by short-range missiles,’ said Basescu.
He mentioned that Romania commended the US for its transparency in promoting the new missile shield, pointing out that President Obama said back in September 2009 that he was considering rethinking the missile defence system that will provide cover to South-Eastern Europe.

‘The decision we made today is highly important to the consolidation of the partnership with the United States, because the most important thing that happened today, at the end of long conversations with the US partner, is that our decision and the commissioning of the systems involved will greatly contribute to increasing Romania’s security level. This is the biggest gain we got. Previously, Romania was not protected against ballistic missile strikes,’ the President said.

He warned that the CSAT decision will have to be approved by the Romanian Parliament after the agreement with the US partners is finalised. He also provided information about the legislation under which the CSAT decision was taken, pointing to Article 118 (5) of the Romanian Constitution; Article 3 of Law 291/2007 concerning the entrance, stationing, operational deployment or transit of foreign troops in Romania; Art. 2 and 17 of the National Security Law no. 51/1991 and Article 1 of Law no. 45/1994 concerning Romania’s national defence.

‘I wanted to mention these legal aspects so that the debates to follow may be conducted, if possible, in accordance with the Romanian legislation, and not without reading the laws,’ he said. Basescu said the invitation to Romania is a success of Romania, not only in the context of its bilateral relation with the US, but also in the country’s capacity as a trustworthy partner to NATO and EU member states.

‘If we discuss the Romanian-US strategic partnership, I have to underscore that this is a plus indicating mutual confidence between Romania and the US and the other way around and such confidence was visible not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also now, when it anticipates some systems that will keep the two countries connected for many decades to come,’ the President said.

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