Security and stability in the Black Sea region is in the interest of the United States and is critical to the security of the Eastern Seaboard, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said at a press conference with his Romanian counterpart, Nicolae Ciucă, following their meeting.
“It is clear,” he said, “that the region is vulnerable to Russia’s aggression, and we have seen that from the actions in eastern Ukraine, the occupation of many parts of Georgia, the militarization of the Black Sea, and the provocative actions from the sea and air.
“I would go on to say that the destabilizing activities in the Black Sea region demonstrate its (Russia’s) ambitions to regain a dominant position in the region and thwart the creation of an integrated, free and peaceful Europe. The Black Sea region is back in the US national interest and we will focus on it and continue to work with our partners in the region,” the US official added.
Lloyd J. Austin III was then received by President Klaus Iohannis in Cotroceni. They discussed issues related to the stage the US-Romania strategic partnership is at and the prospects for its development, particularly in the field of defence cooperation.
Subsequently, the US official will visit the Mihail Kogălniceanu military base.
The US Secretary of State’s visit to Romania is part of a tour that also includes Georgia and Ukraine, ahead of tomorrow’s NATO meeting in Brussels./ibna