After the American commitment, France refines its plan to send troops to Romania – Europe
John Iris (Reuters)
Bucharest, Romania ●
Thu, February 3, 2022
France will work on Thursday to refine its plans to send troops to Romania as part of a future NATO mission as it seeks to further reassure the Black Sea nation amid tensions with the Russia.
Romania has sought to address its own security concerns after Russia massed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders. This has raised fears of a conflict that could spill over into Romania, which has a 600 kilometer (370 mile) border with Ukraine.
The United States said on Wednesday it would send nearly 3,000 additional troops to Poland and Romania to bolster NATO’s Eastern European allies in the face of what Washington describes as a Russian threat to invade. Ukraine.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will meet in Bucharest on Thursday with nine ministers from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Estonia, to discuss the crisis.
Addressing Romania’s parliament on Wednesday to mark 15 years since joining the European Union, Le Drian said Paris wanted to show solidarity and underline EU unity after Russia chose to act as a destabilizing power.
“France is ready to commit to further NATO reassurance measures for Romania,” Le Drian said, speaking alongside his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu. “We are proud to be at your side as the security situation deteriorates at your borders, which are also our borders.”
NATO has a multinational ground force of up to 4,000 troops in Romania, a member since 2004. The United States also has troops stationed at separate bases in Romania and Bulgaria.
French officials said the goal would be to create a mission similar to those in the Baltic which have a lead nation coordinating land, sea and maritime resources.
Paris has offered to lead the mission, which could see around 1,000 troops from various countries.
The contours of the mission will be discussed at the next meeting of NATO defense ministers in mid-February. Although a political decision could be made then, the deployment of forces would take some time, diplomats said.