President Basescu: The presence of Romanian troops in Afghanistan has won them respect from allies

The presence of the 280th Maneuvering Battalion in the Afghan theatre of operations has won the Romanian troops respect from their allies and the world community for their professionalism, cooperation with troops from other countries and the local civilians, reads a message issued by President Traian Basescu to mark the homecoming of the 280th Battalion.

Basescu says the mission of the Romanian troops has been accomplished and congratulated them for their ‘perseverance, abnegation and manliness displayed in carrying out their tasks in an unfriendly environment that was fraught with challenges.’
He also says the presence of Romanian troops in the theaters of operations outside Romania is part of the responsibilities entailed by Romania’s membership of the European and Euro-Atlantic communities.

‘I once again want to reaffirm that the legitimacy of theses missions is beyond any shadow of doubt. Today the global nature of the fight against terrorism has become a necessary component and also an imperative in the fight and strategies of all the democracies with which Romania associates itself in a natural manner and unhesitatingly,’ reads the message.

The President underscores that national defence and security cannot be achieved within the national borders only, but also through participation in international missions, wherever the values of democracy and the world peace are endangered.
‘National defence starts within the national borders, yet in a world of terror that has a potential for catastrophes and where threats are transnational, no nation can any longer ignore what happens beyond its national borders.’

Basescu highlights the quality of the 280th Maneuvering Battalion, saying it is ‘a professional military structure that has won commendations from the allies; by cultivating the spirit of camaraderie and good relations with Romania’s partners they were the country’s ambassadors of friendship.’ He also says that the troops, now that they are back home, have a mission to share their experience with other members of the armed forces.

The President mentions that nine troops of the 280th Battalion have been wounded on mission and they were decorated upon the proposal of the national defence minister.
He adds that the homecoming ceremony has a double significance, as it also marks the 15th anniversary of the 280th Mechanised Infantry Battalion, the continuator of the fight traditions of the 280th Infantry Battalion.

‘I thank you for your efforts and for your actions under the flag outside the country, as you have actually contributed to the promotion of Romania abroad and confirmed its dignity as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union. Romanians know that the integration of their country with the large family of Europe and the Euro-Atlantic bodies is to a great extent due to you, the soldiers. I want to use this opportunity to welcome you back home and assure
you and the entire Romanian Army, that the Romanian President is your unconditional supporter,’ reads the message.

Attending the homecoming ceremony on Friday of the 280th Maneuvering Battalion, which took part in the ISAF III TASK FORCE ZABUL mission, was also Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea. The ceremony was hosted by the headquarters of the 282nd Mechanised Infantry of Focsani.

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