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Press Statement by the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, following his visit to Washington, D.C., United States of America

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, on Tuesday, 20 August 2019, in Washington, D.C., delivered a press statement, following his visit in the United States of America.

The transcript of the press statement, as translated, can be read below:

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: Good evening!

Today I have had an excellent meeting, at the White House, with the President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump, a little longer than two years after our last bilateral meeting, also here, at the White House.

President Trump and I have had pragmatic and open discussions, about the ways to deepen and expand our Strategic Partnership, which, after 22 years, is strong and substantial, with an outstanding potential from which we can further benefit together.

I have stressed that I, personally, will continue to be fully involved in developing the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States of America. President Trump appreciated the strong support the Romanians, in an overwhelming majority, give to the relation with the United States of America.

I have conveyed to Mr. President Trump, as I have said last time I was in Washington, that the transatlantic relationship is vital for our civilisation and our European values and I continue to firmly believe this especially now, when Romania successfully concluded its term as Presidency of the European Union Council.

During our mandate at European Union, we had the chance to coordinate efficiently with the United States on files of mutual interest, in virtue of the transatlantic solidarity and cooperation.

I am convinced that our Strategic Partnership will carry on creating positive results for Romania, for the United States of America and for the transatlantic community as a whole.

Today we have adopted a joint statement together. This is the first time when we do this and, in this light, the Statement is a very important document for the progress of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States of America.

It is crucial to develop this Partnership in all its dimensions, by raising the economic cooperation, energy cooperation, including the nuclear one, where an enhanced bilateral collaboration is required, as well as  in other fields, up to the level of excellence we have reached in our political, military and security cooperation.

President Trump voiced a particular appreciation for Romania being the first Allied state that, during his term of office, reached the level of 2% of the GDP for defence and continues to honour this pledge by strategic procurement which are relevant for Romania’s and NATO’s security.

Moreover, President Trump thanked us for our outstanding presence in Afghanistan, Romania being the fifth contributor among the states being present there, along with the American forces.

I have spoken to Mr. President Trump about the importance to increase the American military presence in Romania. We tackled aspects of mutual interest on the security at the Black Sea, which is particularly relevant, and on NATO’s Eastern Flank, in general, and I highlighted the importance to consolidate the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture and the cohesion of the whole Eastern Flank.

An important topic of our discussion was the bilateral economic relation, where there is more work to be done with regard to both trade and investment. It is important that we find new fields to widen our economic cooperation in such domains as energy, cyber or the defence industry.

In fact, during the visit, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the two governments regarding 5G technology, taking into account the importance to secure the fifth generation wireless communication networks in order to ensure prosperity, as well as national security.

We have also talked about Romania entering the Visa Waiver Programme, which is very important for all the Romanian citizens.

I also took notice of President Trump’s reiterating his clear support for my efforts to defend the rule of law and the fight against corruption in Romania.

I assured him I will carry on firmly bolstering this objective, which is very important for my mandate.

Not least, I assured President Trump that Romania will remain a trustworthy strategic partner and ally for the United States of America in the region, in the European Union and in the world.

I can say that it was another very good meeting with Mr. President Trump, in a symbolic moment – 30 years since the December Revolution and 15 years since Romania acceded to NATO – a meeting that took place in a very open, positive atmosphere, which assures me that our Strategic Partnership will continue to develop and deepen, for the immediate benefit of Romania and the Romanians.

Questions and Answers Session:

Journalist: Mr. President, you said you brought up the visas issue. Have you managed to extract from President Trump more than we did? Are there tangible steps taken to lift these visas?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: President Trump is very interested in this topic and I am convinced the specialists in the American administration, together with our specialists, will find the best ways to advance an improvement of these aspects.

Journalist: Mr. President, is there any reason for the Trump Administration to be dissatisfied with the legislative changes made by PSD in the fiscal field? I am referring to the off-shore law and to the Emergency Ordinance no. 114, or, on the contrary, President Donald Trump gave you an assurance that the American strategic investment would be carried on in the Black Sea?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: This concern exists. It was brought up, but in an optimistic tone. President Trump and the others who were present voiced their expectation that this legislation will be corrected, in order to increase Romania’s attractiveness to the American investors and I am convinced these things are achievable.

Journalist: Exxon, an important American giant, is said to withdraw from the Black Sea project. Is it, according to what you have been informed, because of the changes made to the Emergency Ordinance 114 and to the off-shore law?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: I do not want to make suppositions, yet this issue was brought up and I think we will receive clarifications soon.

Journalist: Did you talk about it during your meeting today, with President Trump?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: Yes, it was today when we talked about it.

Journalist: Mr. President, have you talked about increasing the number of American troops here, in Romania, as Romania has a greater capacity to host such troops?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: Yes, we have. I brought the topic up and voiced Romania’s readiness to host a larger number of American units and President Trump was very open to this. The Secretary of Defence and I settled to carry on more practical and technical discussions, to discover where and how to put it into practice, because we do not want to just talk broadly on an increase of this number in theory, but we intend to have more troops in reality, for example in the Multinational Brigade, in the Regional Command Center that we want to set up, in the Air Police. There are many other concrete issues that we will surely talk about soon.

Journalist: Was there any answer from President Trump?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: He is very interested and the Secretary of Defence will take care of the topic and deepen it from now on.

Journalist: Mr. President, I would like to ask you about the 5G technology, because you said it was a topic of debate. Can you give us further details? I ask whether we could see American technology in Romania in the coming period with regard to implementing this 5G network, taking into account much money is needed, they were talking about billions of euros to be spent in such a technology.

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: You may know that, in Romania, a public procedure is being prepared to this purpose and I consider it would be in everybody’s best interest for us to have more offers, including from the American side. Yet we are talking about private companies coming in and we hope this will happen. The Memorandum does not mention a certain company. It clarifies a set of criteria regarding transparency, accordance with the rule of law and so on. A very good one.

Journalist: Mr. President, I would like to ask you whether, when talking about the gas crisis in Europe, President Trump gave any solution. I know that during the talks with his counterparts in Germany or Poland he did offer alternatives to this issue.

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: President Trump is very interested in new sources of energy being developed, such as those in the Black Sea, which is particularly important for us too. We both also pay close attention to civil nuclear technology and we hope good, important solutions will be found for Romania, which, for sure, is capable of becoming an energy provider in the region.

Journalist: Coming back to 5G, you were saying that the Memorandum of Agreement contains criteria of compatibility referring including to the level of democracy in a certain country. Did you talk about Huawei? Is there any signal that Romania will not allow the Huawei Company to get involved?

President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: At this level, we do not talk about specific companies or about a supplier or another. I am sure that Mr. Ambassador will provide you with a copy of the Memorandum.

Journalist: In the Joint Statement, you have adopted the Nord Stream 2 project is critically talked about. Are you not concerned that some countries in Europe might be dissatisfied with this position by Romania?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: No, we are not concerned. Since the beginning, Romania was critical about Nord Stream 2 and we maintain our initial position.

Journalist: Mr. President, as regards the gas reserves in the Black Sea, more precisely, the off-shore law, what did Mr. President Trump propose to you? Will the companies exploiting there be allowed to export more gas to Western Europe?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: These issues will be surely clarified by the Romanian Government while discussing with the companies that are interested. We, the Presidents, do not analyse items of the law, we discuss principles. And we both agree that Romania has a very good potential and Romania’s attractiveness has to be boosted by a sensible legislation, also favourable to investors, by a legislation that recovers its predictability, which it has lost lately, and then the things will surely become very tempting.

Journalist: You have also mentioned the civil nuclear field. Did you talk about an older project, some smaller nuclear power plants or maybe to upgrade Unit 1 of Cernavodă?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: You see, we did not discuss technical details. Yet both of us, Mr. President Trump and myself, consider that the civil nuclear technology, that is, nuclear stations, have an interesting potential for the region and we have expertise with Cernavodă, where Units 1 and 2 are working, and surely we have a chance to develop here.

Journalist: Will 5G be a topic on the agenda of a new Supreme Council of National Defence meeting?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: I will let you know when we are back home, but this is what we meant at our last meeting. These are important issues.

Journalist: You received a cap as a gift from President Trump. What did you gift to President Trump?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: A pen.

Journalist: Do you consider your visit in the USA today will have a decisive impact on the presidential elections in Romania?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: I don’t know whether it will have any influence on the elections in Romania, but it will surely boost the development of our Strategic Partnership.

Journalist: During today’s meeting, did you invite President Trump to visit Romania? If you did, what was the answer?

President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: That he would like to come and we hope in the near future he will, the near future meaning, to be realistic, after the elections in the United States.

Journalist: Will you send a report to the Parliament or to the Government on this visit? I am sure you are aware of the Prime Minister’s discontent.

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: Ms. Prime Minister should study the architecture of the state a little more closely.

Journalist: (...)

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: We already discussed this issue last year at the NATO reunion in Brussels. President Trump considers 2% is not enough and we will have to discuss this percentage within NATO. This is not a specific bilateral topic, as we have reached 2%, we are keeping our pledge, which, of course, has been noted positively.

Journalist: What about the economic exchanges, can you give us further details on what he meant? Did he mean legislative changes?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: Yes, the Romanian legislation has to be attractive, steady, predictable, providing a good framework and - this is why I mentioned it before - the rule of law., which is very important for the American investors. The American investor wishes a steady and predictable environment. We have known this for a long time. Even PSD is aware of this, but they chose to ignore it. However, let us talk about this at home.

Journalist: Is there any possibility for us to have a permanent American military presence on Romania’s territory?

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis: We do have a permanent presence. We have the functional bases, if we only think about Kogălniceanu, which is of great importance.

Thank you!

 

source: presidency.ro

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