Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu held high-level discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III on Monday during his first visit to the United States. The Prime Minister was joined by Minister of Defense Angel Tîlvăr, Minister of Economy Ștefan-Radu Oprea, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Luminița Odobescu.
Following his visit to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to America’s fallen heroes, the Prime Minister met with Secretary Austin at the Pentagon and pledged Romania’s continued support to its neighbor for “as long as it takes until Ukraine achieves victory.” Austin praised Romania for its continued commitment to spending 2.5% of its gross domestic product on defense and its leadership in maintaining the flow of Ukrainian grains to the global market. Additionally, the Defense Secretary highlighted Romania’s role in hosting the European F-16 training center and hosting over 3,000 U.S. and allied forces.
Prime Minister Ciolacu then met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the U.S. Department of State. Ciolacu highlighted Romania’s consistent commitment to stand by Ukraine. In the meeting, Ciolacu emphasized, “Romania stands at the ready to support and implement bilateral and multilateral plans for reconstruction and revitalization of Ukraine and securing the region as a whole.” Secretary Blinken highlighted the close U.S.-Romanian cooperation on security issues, civil nuclear energy, and private sector engagement. Romania has played an instrumental role in aiding its neighbor Moldova from Russian aggression. In remarks prior to their meeting, Ciolacu also called on the United States to continue “to take into consideration a special relationship with the Republic of Moldova. It’s the most vulnerable country, the second most vulnerable country after Ukraine.”
Both U.S. officials lauded the strengthening partnership between the United States and Romania. Secretary Blinken said, “I am grateful, the United States is grateful for that partnership. We see it right now, particularly when it comes to helping defend Ukraine against the ongoing Russian aggression and the critical role that Romania has played and continues to play in making sure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself, but also critically, the ability to continue to export grain, wheat, and other things that are so vital not only to Ukraine’s economy but vital to people around the world.”
Additionally, Secretary Austin said, “After 26 years, that partnership that has never been stronger or mattered more,” and added, “Romania has been a strong defender of Ukraine, including [making] robust donations of military aid and their vital participation in the Ukrainian defense contract.”