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)
Russia says dissatisfied with U.S. talks over arms treaty concerns
Russia faces new U.S., EU sanctions over Ukraine crisis
U.S. intensifies sanctions on Russia over Ukraine
U.S., EU hit Russia with more sanctions despite Ukraine ceasefire
Fresh shelling in Ukraine's Donetsk puts ceasefire under more strain
Storm leaves 200,000 displaced in Philippines, heads for Taiwan
Kurdish leader urges world to protect Syrian town from Islamic State
Ebola lockdown brings Sierra Leone capital to a halt
U.S. won't stand in way of Venezuela's U.N. Security Council bid
Pope's Albania visit prompts long-awaited facelift for Tirana square
North Korea says imprisoned American tried to become 'second Snowden'
A Walk Among The Tombstones
Suspected South African gunrunner held in Langkawi, rifles and ammunition seized
Peeking into North Korea
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)