The United States and Romania have signed the U.S.-Romanian Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement – an important step in defending Europe and the United States from the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
Once the agreement is ratified by the Romanian parliament, and our two governments have brought the agreement into force, the United States will build, maintain, and operate in Romania a land-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. Thoroughly tested and proven effective over the last decade, the system will help protect NATO Allies and contribute to the security of the United States. The ballistic missile defense system should be deployed to Romania in the 2015 time-frame.
"This agreement," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "reflects the commitment of the United States to our allies in NATO, and specifically to our Article 5 responsibilities for collective defense."
Romania has been a strong partner in NATO, said Secretary Clinton, from peacekeeping in Kosovo to enforcing the arms embargo of Libya, to Romanian troops serving in Afghanistan.
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi reiterated his country's strong support for the United States. "The wind of change in the Arab world," he said, "demonstrates that democracy is worth fighting for, and once gained it must be jealously protected. As a member of the free world and as a strategic partner of the United States, Romania is determined to participate in the effort toward global security."
Foreign Minister Baconschi stated that building a missile defense system on Romanian soil is an essential part of the effort to implement the decision NATO made last November in Lisbon to develop a missile defense capability.
The two foreign ministers had a wide ranging discussion on the U.S.-Romania bilateral relationship, from promoting government transparency to creating free market opportunities worldwide. Earlier, the United States and Romania achieved a Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership, which covers a range of mutual interests including military cooperation, trade promotion, and academic, scientific, and cultural exchange.
The United States looks forward to strengthening the bonds of friendship with Romania as it assumes greater responsibilities on the international stage. And with this missile defense agreement, the U.S. and Romania are building a safer, more secure future for the whole region.