Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman at the Send-off of Romanian Military Team to Alabama

Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman delivers a speech at the Send-off of Romanian Military Team to Alabama. Bucharest, Romania, Monday, May 25, 2020. (Lucian Crusoveanu / Public Diplomacy Office)

Monday, May 25, 2020
As Delivered

Good morning Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Distinguished Guests, Friends,

On behalf of President Trump and the American people, it is an honor to be here today to thank all of you for this remarkable act of courage and selflessness. The strategic partnership between our two countries has never been stronger. This Romanian mission to support the American people in their efforts to manage the COVID-19 crisis is yet another example of our countries’ special relationship. 

The delegation to the United States consists of a medical team and a radiological, biological and chemical decontamination team. The delegation will be hosted by the Alabama National Guard in Montgomery, Alabama.  

The RBC team will take the experience they gained decontaminating terrain, personnel and equipment in various Romanian cities and share that experience with the Alabama National Guard, improving both countries’ abilities to more efficiently fight the COVID pandemic. The Romanian team and the Alabama National Guard team will also take this opportunity to review emergency responses needed for the prevention and limitation of the effects of a chemical, biologic or nuclear incident or event.  

The Romanian medical team will be briefed on American methods of combating the pandemic. This team of highly experienced military physicians and personnel saved many lives when they ensured the proper management and operations of civilian hospitals in Focşani, Suceava and Deva, which had become COVID hotspots. Romanian military medical personnel have also provided support to other public health institutions and hospitals all over Romania.

Members of this team were also part of the medical team which provided support to the people of the Republic of Moldova to limit the spread of COVID-19 there. Romania also donated truckloads of medical supplies and personal protective equipment to Moldova’s hospitals.  Sadly, these materials were not distributed to the hospitals and people that needed them. We join Romanian Foreign Minister Aurescu’s call for the immediate release of these medical supplies and equipment to the hospitals to help the people suffering from COVID.

Today’s mission had a great number of other people involved to make it happen. Thank you very much to all of you – the American people are grateful. I do want to mention a few of these people, both Romanian and American, who made this mission possible. I’d like to point out our Consul General to Romania, Sharon Umber; there she is. She and her team worked through the weekend to make sure all the passports, visas and travel documents were in order. Thank you Sharon! Great job! 

I also want to thank the great flight crew of Tarom. The pilots, cabin crew and mechanics, for making this trip possible. I had the opportunity to meet some of them yesterday at our embassy. What a great group of hard-working, dedicated people. Thank you very much!

I also want to thank Transportation Minister Bode and his team for making the Tarom flight available. I promised Minister Bode that we shall work together to get Tarom back in the air, flying internationally and hopefully have a direct flight to the U.S. soon.; what a great thing that would be! As Romania emerges from the economic slowdown caused by the COVID virus it is important to have modern, expedient international transportation. 

Shortly after I first arrived in Romania, I predicted 2020 would be the year of the Romanian Renaissance in business, finance, arts and culture. I never anticipated COVID ravaging the world’s economies. However, I still stand by my prediction. President Trump and the American people are committed to getting back to work and rebuilding not only the American economy, but that of our friends and allies. Romania has no better friend than the United States. We are committed to assist Romania achieve this recovery.  

Romania had the greatest GDP growth of all European Union countries in the first quarter this year. As Romania gets back to work, its economy will continue to grow. The free market capitalist system, free from the malignant forces of endemic corruption, will generate growth and prosperity for all Romanians. That shining light on a hill is there for all – it made America great and it will make Romania great. Do not let those few amongst you influenced by the communist Chinese or malign Russian forces that tell you it can’t be done;  it can and will be done. Those fraudsters who have recently emerged from prison or scoundrels who have yet to be prosecuted for their crimes against the Romanian people should be ignored; given their deeds, their words hold no weight.

Today America commemorates Memorial Day, a day when we honor those who gave their lives to protect ours and to keep us free. Freedom is not cheap – it comes at a high price. It is symbolic that this flight carrying Romanian medical professionals to help America fight COVID takes off today. Together we shall defeat COVID. Together we shall rebuild our economies. Together we shall preserve our shared values of freedom, the rule of law and fundamental human rights for future generations. Together, we can do it and we will! 

May you have safe travels and a successful mission. 

Thank you and may God bless you.