Bucharest, Romania: PRIME MINISTER CIUCA: (Via interpreter) has said that Mr. Secretary, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great honor and privilege to welcome Secretary Blinken to Bucharest. This is a milestone when we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our strategic partnership between Romania and the United States. Very glad to hear that 25 years ago, when President Clinton announced the launch of the strategic partnership here in Bucharest, you were here with him.
I’m happy and proud to announce that our strategic partnership has reached its highest levels in its 25-year history. Twenty-five years is a very important milestone, which makes us aware that in 1997 a new generation was born that was raised and grew with the strategic partnership. I’m sure that this generation will do its best to defend the values that we cherish – freedom and all the values that we share. I’m sure that this generation, together with the Romanian people, fully appreciates the importance of the strategic partnership and our membership to NATO.
I’m also happy that we can enjoy this exhibit together in a beautiful building, which has been a landmark in Romanian history. Your presence here confirms the importance that the United States grants to the strategic partnership with Romania and the United States, and I would like to assure you that the Government of Romania will do its best to strengthen and expand this strategic partnership.
The political-military component of the strategic partnership is very important. And your presence here today in Bucharest is in the context where the ministry of foreign affairs of Romania together with Minister Aurescu have organized the meeting of NATO foreign ministers, a meeting which takes place shortly after the Madrid Summit and for the first time since Romania hosted the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest. Going back to the political-military component of our strategic partnership, I would like to thank you for the U.S. commitment to deterrence, defense, and strengthening the eastern flank.
Of course the economic component of the strategic partnership is also very important, and I would like to appreciate the increase of U.S. investment in Romania. In this context, energy has become much more important than we would have thought a little while ago. I’d like to emphasize the cooperation, bilateral cooperation, in the nuclear field, and the fact that the U.S. Government has committed to fund the number three and number four reactors in Cernavodă with $3 billion also highlights this strategic partnership.
Also the development of small nuclear reactors in Romania is extremely important, and this is also a highlight of the cooperation between U.S. and Romanian experts. We have already chosen the location for these future reactors at Doicești. There are also other directions of cooperation in the field of energy, and we are looking at developing especially the wind source of energy. All of these efforts will expand and will broaden our capability to become independent from the energy standpoint. And of course Romania as a strategic partner offers its capabilities to other partners and allies who don’t have the capability to produce their own energy.
Mr. Secretary, we have a broad cooperation in between Romania and the United States, and I would like to assure you that based on our shared values and interests. Because the strategic partnership represents the fundamental pillar of our security and foreign policy, we will continue to strengthen it in the future.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to developing our strategic partnership.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Prime Minister, thank you so much for welcoming us here this morning. To you, to my friend Bogdan, the foreign minister, it is wonderful to be back in Bucharest. As the prime minister said, I was here with President Clinton when he and President Constantinescu announced the strategic partnership 25 years ago. It was a moment when the Romanian people inspired the world with their own quest for freedom.
I don’t think that the two presidents could have imagined even then the extent that this partnership would grow and flourish – security, economic, people-to-people ties. And as the prime minister said, we are steadfast Allies in NATO defending the values that we share, including when those values are under assault by Russia in Ukraine. And we’ve built a strong and growing economic partnership, including with powerful new horizons around nuclear energy. And of course, we have ever-stronger people-to-people ties, as evidenced here today by some of the work that’s brought us together: educational exchange, cultural exchange, in so many ways connecting our countries over the last 25 years.
So it’s particularly wonderful to be back in this moment when we’re working so closely together. And I have to tell you, Prime Minister, a great way to start the day in this extraordinary place with a little bit of music, so I thank you for that as well.