Home > News > World
Tuesday May 20, 2014 MYT 11:12:33 PM
Tuesday May 20, 2014 MYT 11:12:34 PM
by luiza ilie
BUCHAREST (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Bucharest on Tuesday as part of Washington's campaign to reassure east European allies of American backing in the West's confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.
A former communist state on the Black Sea, Romania joined NATO a decade ago and the European Union in 2007. It has been among the most vehement advocates of Western sanctions against Moscow after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.
"You can count on us, we do what we say," Biden told a gathering of Romanian and American troops after doffing his brown leather jacket at a military air base near Bucharest, where "capacity-building" exercises are being conducted.
Biden's White House office had earlier said he would underscore Washington's "ironclad commitment to the collective defence of NATO under Article 5 and express appreciation for Romania's contributions to regional and global security".
Delivering his speech inside a brightly-lit hangar, flanked by Romanian military aircraft, Biden said: "The aggression to Crimea ... reminds us why we need NATO. Europe's borders should never again be changed at the point of a gun ... which is why we continue to condemn Russia's occupation of Crimea."
Romania, which neighbours Ukraine, has said NATO must reposition its resources in the wake of Moscow's manoeuvres. It is especially wary that Moldova - a tiny state bordering Romania with a Russian-speaking minority - could be next in Moscow's sights given the risk of separatist unrest emerging there.
Biden is expected to hold talks with President Traian Băsescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Wednesday and address the need to deepen economic ties, recommit to strengthening democratic institutions and undertake sustained efforts to bolster Europe's energy security.
Russia's annexation of Crimea and its support for separatist movements in the east and south of Ukraine have drawn economic sanctions from the United States and the European Union.
Since the standoff between Russia and the West began, Romania has taken part in navy drills in the Black Sea and hosted military exercises with U.S. troops.
Biden's journey Tuesday through Friday, which will include a stopover in Cyprus, is part of a campaign to underline U.S. solidarity with allies during the Ukraine crisis that has included trips to Kiev, the Baltic states and Poland.
(Writing by Radu Marinas; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Biden arrives in Romania to show U.S. backing over Ukraine
Biden to reassure Romania, Cyprus of US support in Ukraine crisis
Biden warns Russia of greater costs if it undermines Ukraine election
Romania president invites U.S. Vice President Biden - local media
NATO to fly AWACS over Poland, Romania to monitor Ukraine crisis
Liberian voter turnout low as Ebola overshadows senate election
CIA unlikely to punish staff over Senate computer search - NYT
Gunman with possible revenge in mind kills two NYC police officers
Egypt's Sisi meets Qatari envoy, signalling possible detente
Ladies, time to stand up and fight for your man
Looking out for your ears
Japan send mission to Spain to probe Aguirre allegations
Online travel searches for Cuba spike 300% following Obama news
Retracing biblical paths on Christian pilgrimages
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)