Office of the Vice President
This morning, President Obama joined a meeting between Vice President Biden and President of Romania Traian Basescu in the Roosevelt Room. The President also invited President Basescu into the Oval Office along with the Vice President.
The President noted the close alliance between the United States and Romania, and thanked President Basescu for his strong partnership. The President congratulated President Basescu on the U.S.-Romania Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement, which exemplifies the President’s commitment to strengthening NATO and ensuring allies have the capabilities to meet 21st century threats. The President also congratulated President Basescu on the U.S.-Romania Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century. Both of these documents were completed during the visit of President Basescu. (See them down here)
The President thanked President Basescu for his leadership in NATO as the Alliance prepares for the Chicago NATO Summit in May 2012, and expressed appreciation for the sacrifices that Romanian soldiers have made in our common effort in Afghanistan and elsewhere. He thanked President Basescu for Romania’s critical contributions to the ISAF mission.
The President and President Basescu discussed the important role that Romania can play in supporting and advancing democracy, both in Europe and in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Vice President Biden welcomed the strengthening of the U.S.-Romania strategic partnership as follow up to the discussions he held with President Basescu during his visit to Bucharest in October 2009. The Vice President and President Basescu also discussed ongoing political and economic reforms in Romania, and our shared goal of encouraging stability in the Balkans. They also discussed their strong concerns about the situation in Syria and agreed to consult closely going forward.
Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century Between the United States of America and Romania
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
The United States of America (the United States) and Romania share a history of close ties between our people, a commitment to democracy, an enduring strategic relationship, and a willingness to confront common challenges and threats. Strong, deep ties connect the people of the United States and Romania through cultural, economic, and scientific relations. This Strategic Partnership reflects the excellent and broadening cooperation between our countries to promote security, democracy, free market opportunities, and cultural exchange.
We believe that the continued development of a durable and long-term Strategic Partnership increases the security of the United States and Romania, as well as the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. The cornerstone of our cooperation is the solidarity embodied in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides that an armed attack against one or more North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries shall be considered an armed attack against them all. The United States and Romania acknowledge the importance of enhancing their individual and collective security by working within NATO, the United Nations, and other international organizations, consistent with United Nations Charter and international law.
Today, security cooperation between Romania and the United States is robust. We welcome the fact that the United States and Romania have reached agreement on stationing in Romania elements of the U.S. European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense, which is an extremely valuable contribution to the development of a NATO missile defense capability. In this context, on May 3, 2011, the United States and Romania announced the selection of Deveselu Airbase as the site of the facility, thus reaffirming the commitment of both our countries to missile defense. The deployment is anticipated to occur in the 2015 timeframe. The United States and Romania welcome the November 2010 decision by NATO to develop a missile defense capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory, and forces. The Deveselu facility is an important component of that capability.
Romania and the United States also cooperate broadly and successfully on security, including through Task Force East, enabling U.S. European Command and its service components periodically to deploy to Romania to work with Romanian partners and effectively conduct training exercises with military forces from the Central European and Black Sea regions. Such cooperation has proceeded on the basis of the Agreement between the United States of America and Romania regarding the Activities of United States Forces located on the Territory of Romania, done in Bucharest on December 6, 2005. We are seeking to work together on a regional approach that can help interested European countries modernize their air forces.
Romania and the United States also have partnered effectively, both bilaterally and in the context of NATO operations, such as the NATO Training Mission in Iraq, the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the Kosovo Force (KFOR), and Operation Unified Protector in Libya and other operations, such as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The United States welcomes Romanian approval for a U.S. request to use Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase and the nearby port of Constanta as a logistical hub for U.S. materiel in transit to and from Afghanistan and other areas of operation. Both nations believe that such cooperation brings long-term mutual benefits for our security relationship and strengthens the NATO Alliance.
We continue to support opportunities for increased trade and investment, cooperation between our business communities, and the development of deeper industrial and technological cooperation.
President Obama has endorsed legislation co-sponsored by several members of Congress that would reform how countries qualify for the Visa Waiver Program to ensure that strong Allies get proper consideration. This legislation requires that aspirants to the Visa Waiver Program commit to enhanced counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States. We look forward to Romania meeting this objective.
In pursuit of a common vision of broader and deeper United States – Romania Strategic Partnership, the United States and Romania have identified the following areas for strengthened cooperation:
- The U.S. missile defense system and NATO missile defense capability, recognizing that this system contributes to the defense of the United States and Romania and NATO European Allies and enhances regional stability;
- Disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control;
- Combating terrorism, and addressing other emerging risks and threats including by enhancing information sharing;
- Cooperation within NATO, including improved interoperability and cooperation in the field of defense equipment and related materiel;
- Regional cooperation and stability, including in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, including by improving NATO-EU cooperation, enhancing Euro-Atlantic institutions, and seeking solutions to protracted conflicts;
- Trade and investment, including facilitating contacts between business communities, while reaffirming our commitment to market principles, rule of law, a sound business environment, transparency, and public integrity;
- Energy security, including ensuring diversified sources and transport routes such as the Southern Corridor, developing smart grids, researching unconventional sources of energy, including shale gas, and pursuing alternative sources of clean energy and liberalizing of markets to attract new investment to the energy sector;
- Democracy and rule of law, human rights, and good governance, including by firmly supporting these values in the region, in the countries of the Eastern Partnership: Republic of Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, and to spur reform and strengthen democracy in those countries. In addition, our joint work in support of the Community of Democracies and our membership on the UN Human Rights Council are valuable initiatives;
- Education, research and people-to-people contacts, facilitated by exchanges of professionals, investors, business travelers, academics, and scientific researchers;
- Science and technology, including continued support for diversifying contacts among their academic and research communities;
Our resilient and dynamic Strategic Partnership can enhance the security and prosperity of both Romania and the United States, and we look forward to our future cooperation.
Washington, D.C., September 13, 2011
The United States welcomes the strong commitment of Romania to join a growing group of allies and partners that are contributing to efforts to counter existing and emerging ballistic missile threats in the Twenty-First Century.
Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Romania’s Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi signed the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Romania on the Deployment of the Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania. This Agreement calls for the establishment and operation of a U.S. land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in Romania. The deployment to Romania is anticipated to occur in the 2015 timeframe as part of the second phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). In addition to deepening the bilateral strategic relationship between our two countries, cooperation in this area will make a substantial contribution to NATO’s collective security and will be an integral part of a NATO missile defense capability.
The EPAA will provide protection of NATO European territories and populations, including Romania, and augment protection of the United States. This Agreement is an important step in our efforts to protect from the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles of increasingly greater ranges, lethality, and sophistication, and potentially armed with weapons of mass destruction. The BMD interceptor site in Romania will provide a defensive capability to protect Europe and the United States against ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East.
Upon ratification by the Romanian Parliament and entry into force, the ballistic missile defense agreement will allow the United States to construct, maintain, and operate a facility encompassing the land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense system.
Technical Aspects of the United States Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania
In May 2011, the United States and Romania jointly selected the Deveselu Air Base near Caracal, Romania, to host a U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System which employs the SM-3 interceptor (also referred to as the “Aegis Ashore System”). The United States will provide the Romanian Government with situational awareness into operations at the ballistic missile defense facility, which includes receiving information on ballistic missiles tracked by the missile defense system and the status of the U.S. missile defense of Europe.
- U.S. and Romanian military forces will cooperate in providing physical security for the missile defense interceptor facility.
- The site will consist of a radar deckhouse and associated Aegis command, control, and communications suite. Separately, it will house a number of launch modules containing SM-3 interceptors. The United States Government will be financially responsible for the construction of its facility and for the deployment, operations, and maintenance of its ballistic missile defense system. The United States will also be responsible for those services requested and received, such as utilities.
- Personnel can live and work safely near the Aegis radar system. The United States has safely operated the Aegis Radar Test site in Moorestown, New Jersey for over 30 years without any danger to people or the environment.
- SM-3 interceptors are for defensive purposes only and have no offensive capability. They carry no explosive warheads of any type, and rely on their kinetic energy to collide with and destroy incoming enemy ballistic missile warheads.
- The Aegis Ashore configuration of the ballistic missile defense system will be thoroughly tested at a specialized test center at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Hawaii starting in 2014.
Characteristics of the United States Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania
- The U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense site is approximately 430 acres (175 hectares) and is located within the existing Romanian Air Base at Deveselu.
- An estimated 150 to 200 military, government civilians, and support contractors will be required to operate the U.S. facility at the site.
- SM-3 Interceptors based in Romania will not be used for flight tests, and will be launched only in defense against an actual attack.
Proven Defensive Capabilities
- The Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system incorporates decades of reliable and effective operations of the Aegis ship-based system into its design and test program.
- The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System has been proven effective through repeated testing. Since 2002, the system has been successful in 22 of 27 flight tests with the SM-3 interceptor.
Photos: Alex Micsik / Presidency.ro