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Cristian Diaconescu: “Russia’s demands are maximum and unacceptable. Romania is currently in the eye of the volcano “

Former Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu told Libertatea that Russia’s request to withdraw NATO forces from Romania would virtually cancel the operation of the North Atlantic Alliance.

“I don’t think there are any reservations about the United States or the Alliance’s European members regarding the need to reject such requests,” Cristian Diaconescu said on Friday, referring to Russia’s demands to withdraw NATO troops and weapons from the territory. Romania.

The former Romanian Foreign Minister said that these requests are maximum, but warned that any negotiation ends in a compromise and that, from this point of view, “Romania must be extremely careful”.

Diaconescu also spoke about the need for Romania to be on alert, given that the Black Sea region could be tested by Russia, in Putin’s attempt to redefine relations with NATO.

He recalled that Russia’s intervention plans also include a component that covers the mouths of the Danube and Transnistria.

“From this perspective, it is clear that the approach of a dangerous military potential to the Romanian border is one that should be of particular concern to us,” said the former Foreign Minister.

Cristian Diaconescu.  Photo: Inquam Photos / George Călin
Cristian Diaconescu. Photo: Inquam Photos / George Călin

“Requests are maximum and totally unacceptable”

Freedom: First of all, is there anything new in this Moscow request that explicitly targets Romania?
Cristian Diaconescu: This is not a novelty for Romania. It is a topic that has been on the Russian Federation’s list of concerns for some time. It was also sent to the US and European parties in the package of requests mentioned by the Russian Federation in the context of the negotiations that began in Geneva a few days ago on the easing of the situation in Ukraine.

It’s a matter of principle here. Basically, the Russian Federation has two major demands. One of these is the withdrawal of the North Atlantic Alliance on the 1997 alignment, so practically leaving the states that joined NATO after 1990 without the politico-military guarantees necessary to participate in the Washington Treaty, the founding act of the Alliance.

The second request concerns a decision that the Russian Federation would like in connection with the fact that the Alliance would decide not to extend to the East.

Both demands would practically de facto and de jure cancel the functioning of NATO. They are maximum and, in my opinion, totally unacceptable.

– Given that it is hard to believe that this request will be fulfilled, how should we decode it? What does Moscow want to achieve?
– It is becoming increasingly necessary for Romania’s presence with its allies, but also for the generation of a spirit of solidarity and transatlantic cohesion from this perspective.

I do not think that there are any reservations about the US or the European members of the Alliance regarding the need to reject such requests. These would be precedents for which it would be very difficult for the Alliance to regain the confidence of states or citizens in the security guarantees that underlie the functioning of NATO.

I do not think that negotiations can take place on these issues. There are maximum demands from the Kremlin, but in any case, any negotiation ends in a compromise. And from this point of view, Romania must be extremely careful. At the moment, Romania is in the eye of the volcano.

“We have an additional responsibility for regional security”

– However, we know that there are some differing views in NATO regarding a reaction to Russia. Are there any differences in this regard?
– In my opinion, the discussion should not end in a single chapter and that should be the military one. Normally, any kind of aggression should be treated as such and received the appropriate response. But more important are early warning and prevention. The North Atlantic Alliance, after 2014, after the intervention in Ukraine of Russia, decided to promote in the relationship with the Russian Federation three types of approaches: dialogue, defense and deterrence.

So on these three levels, in my opinion, the type of mandate that NATO jointly and severally should make clear at the negotiating table needs to be outlined.

From this perspective, one component or another of negotiation at a given moment prevails. But I don’t think it’s in anyone’s favor, not even in the Russian Federation, for the military component to be the one to win.

– You said the other day in an interview with Free Europe that Bucharest should be on alert because the Black Sea region could be “tested” by the Russian Federation in an attempt by Vladimir Putin to redefine Moscow’s relationship with NATO. What do you think we can expect?
– The intervention plans, as they appeared in public, also include a component that refers to the mouths of the Danube and Transnistria. So from this perspective it is clear that the approach of a dangerous military potential to the Romanian border is one that should be of particular concern to us.

Then we have an additional responsibility for regional security comprising the Republic of Moldova. And there is no need to argue from this perspective.

Thirdly, military intervention in Ukraine would have, among other things, devastating consequences for the region and a huge wave of migration.

So there are concrete, punctual questions that need to be answered by Bucharest. Of course, not all of these attitudes, decisions, need to be made public, nor would it be normal. But on the other hand, the firmness and the categorical attitude, the red lines that Romania in turn has in such a situation, must be clear and known.

“No security concessions can be made”

– Are there things that Romania had to do and did not do? Some talked about the need for a CSAT meeting, for example. (Klaus Iohannis later announced the convening of the CSAT)
– As far as I know, in the in-depth discussion with our Euro-Atlantic partners, Romania did everything it had to do. Now, about the public expectations about one action or another – everyone makes their own assessments. But I know that Romania is active, and from this perspective I have no objections.

– Some voices said that Ukraine should remain neutral, that this would not provoke Russia. It is a proposal that could be extended to the situation of Romania. But is this a realistic option?
– Against the background of a crisis generated by a military threat that is no longer a secret to anyone, no security concessions can be made. I cannot comment on behalf of Ukraine, but in relation to Romania, any such compromise is ruled out.

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Source From: Libertatea

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