March 30, 2023
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with his Romanian counterpart Minister of National Defence Angel Tîlvăr at the Pentagon today to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues. The two leaders condemned Russia’s brutal war of choice in Ukraine and affirmed unyielding support to the Ukrainian people. Secretary Austin thanked Romania for hosting thousands of U.S. and Allied forces to bolster and defend NATO’s Eastern Flank, and for Romania’s leadership role in the Black Sea region.
Secretary Austin and Minister Tîlvăr shared key priorities ahead of the NATO Summit in July in Vilnius, Lithuania. Secretary Austin applauded Romania’s strong commitment to spending 2.5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on defense, and its ongoing investments in modern, NATO interoperable military equipment.
The two leaders also saluted the 30-year anniversary of Romania’s State Partnership Program with the Alabama National Guard — a proud symbol of the strong and enduring bilateral defense relationship.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Welcomes Romanian Defense Minister Angel Tilvar to the Pentagon
March 30, 2023
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III; Romanian Defense Minister Angel Tilvar
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Mr. Minister, welcome to the Pentagon. It’s a pleasure to host you here this morning, and after 25 years of our relationship, the U.S.-Romania relationship, and our strategic partnership has never been stronger.
And it’s especially important over the past year after Russia’s cruel and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s trying to change the borders of a peaceful and sovereign neighboring country by aggression and force. That’s a threat to security in the region, and as a direct result of — on the core principles — and a direct (editors note: assault) (sic) on the core principles of shared values that make us all safer.
Mr. Minister, we’re grateful to Romania for hosting an increased presence of U.S. and allied forces in your country. You know, in 2021, I saw the outstanding relationship between our two militaries firsthand when I visited the M.K. Air Base, and your generous support has bolstered deterrence along NATO’s eastern flank.
We’re also very grateful to the Romanian people for welcoming more than three million Ukrainian refugees and helping provide them with humanitarian assistance.
Today, I look forward to discussing a range of topics, including Russia’s reckless war of choice in Ukraine, security in the Black Sea and the broader region and Romanian’s ongoing defense modernization investments. We’ll also talk about our priorities ahead of the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July.
And finally, I’d like to salute the 30th anniversary of Romania’s state partnership with the Alabama National Guard.
And Mr. Minister, thanks again for making the trip, and I look forward to a great discussion today.
DEFENSE MINISTER ANGEL TILVAR: Thank you, Secretary of Defense. Good morning, everyone.
First, allow me to express my deepest condolences to the families and to the American people on the tragic events in Nashville.
Then I want — that for us, for me, it is such a distinguished honor to be here today. My visit to the United States comes in a symbolic moment, as you mentioned, as we celebrate 30 years of state partnership program between Romania in the state of Alabama, a key milestone on the pathway to our remarkable strategic partnership, 30 years of excellent cooperation between the Romanian Armed Forces and the National Guard of Alabama.
Few moments in our recent history have been greater transforming and mobilizing force than the launch of the Romanian-U.S. strategic partnership 26 years ago back in 1997. Alongside NATO and E.U. membership, our strategic partnership is one of the main pillars of our national foreign and security policies. Our partnership is more solid and dynamic than ever, especially in these very difficult times when the war of aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine is challenging the future of the entire Euro-Atlantic security, proving once again that Russia is the most significant and direct threat to the European, Euro-Atlantic and regional security.
President Putin hoped to divide us, but he failed. Our response was firm and united. Both E.U. member states and NATO allies, Romania among them, have individually provided support to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale war. We also salute the incredible results of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group under the leadership of you. It is a very efficient instrument of coordinating of all our efforts in supporting Ukraine. We commend the U.S. steadfast contribution to consolidating the security in our region and the reinforcing the deterrence and defense posture on NATO’s entire eastern flank, especially in the Black Sea region. A stronger U.S. force posture in Europe, adding more air, land, maritime, cyber and space capabilities is much appreciated and needed in this very hard times.
Another proof of U.S. solidarity and commitment to the Black Sea region’s security is the robust U.S. military presence in Romania supplemented in 2022 with the 2nd Infantry Combat Brigade Team under the 101st Airborne Division Command. We are looking forward to hosting the 1st Infantry Combat Brigade Team of the 101st Airborne Division and the command elements of the 10th Mountain Division.
Moreover, given today’s very complicated security situation in our part of the world, but with great impact on the entire Euro-Atlantic stability, we assess the current U.S. footprint in Europe and that should stand for the new baseline for a permanent U.S. force posture in Europe and in Romania. We have already enough proof that what happens in the Black Sea doesn’t stay in the Black Sea, and that’s why we consider that the U.S.-European-Euro-Atlantic response will have a decisive role for the future of the rules-based international order and for the credibility of Euro-Atlantic efforts in support of security, stability and prosperity in our and other regions, including the Indo-Pacific, as well as in tackling other global challenges.
We are looking forward to continue all the good work we are doing together, Romania and the United States, for the benefit of our countries. Our strategic partnership is excellent, and we are ready to extend our defense cooperation in order to face all common challenges.
Secretary Austin, you can count on Romania, as we can always rely on United States of America. Thank you.
SEC. AUSTIN: Well, thanks for being here. It’s great to have you here.