UPDATE Iohannis: Armed forces' acquisitions, modernisation effort up to NATO standards needs to be continued

The armed forces effort for acquisitions and modernisation up to NATO standards needs to be continued, President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday, pointing out that the Defense Ministry should use transparently the two percent of Gross Domestic Product allocated for defence spending.

"We find ourselves today in a complex geopolitical context ... (...) The radical changes in recent years in the international security environment have highlighted the strategic importance of ensuring security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area of the Black Sea region. Romania is an important regional stability pillar and a credible partner of NATO and the EU. Given the circumstances, we must constantly act to have an efficient military system capable of fulfilling its essential missions in defending the country as well as the responsibilities taken up by Romania inside NATO. The armed forces effort for acquisitions and modernisation up to NATO standards needs to be continued," Iohannis said at an Army Day military ceremony.

He mentioned a national agreement on two-percent-of-GDP defence spending, underlining that the Ministry of Defence is responsible for making transparent the use of these funds.

"The implementation of the national agreement concluded with the political parties in early 2015 on the allocation of 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product for defence spending over the next ten years, thus provides predictability, transparency and credibility at regional and allied level. It is incumbent on the Defence Ministry to transparently plan and use these public funds. The new defence architecture requires the provision of highly trained human resources with modern and perfectly interoperable capabilities in the NATO defence system," said Iohannis.

He added that Romania continues the efforts to implement the proposed objectives that were promoted and realizes at the NATO Summit in Brussels. He mentioned ensuring operational coherence and an integrated approach to deterrence and defence actions, as well as consolidation across the entire eastern NATO flank and the Black Sea as well as achieving the final operational capability of the Multinational Brigade South East.

"Entire and timely fulfilment by our country of the pledged objectives proves Romania's pragmatism, commitment, consistency and coherence in order to fulfill international commitments."

According to Iohannis, achieving Romania's security aspirations will take into account the further development of the existing strategic partnerships, especially with the United States of America.

He said the armed forces are a fundamental institution of the Romanian state.

"To us all, the 100th anniversary of the achievement of the great ideal of national unity, which could not have been accomplished without the contribution of the Romanian Army, represents a moment of double significance. We commemorate the important stages in the history of the nation and, at the same time, we are hopefully looking forward. It is a good opportunity to restore on a secure basis the prestige of history as a form of knowledge of the Romanian people. We are thus rekindling the ideals that have made it possible to preserve our values and traditions, justice, truth all subsumed to individual and common good. The December 1, 1918 Greater Union is definitely one of the most important country projects of the Romanian nation of all time. This major event has contributed to the promotion of the national consciousness of the people, to the making of the Romanian state and to the preservation of the values for which our forerunners fought and sacrificed their lives,' said Iohannis. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Peia, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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