Bucharest, April 4 /Agerpres/ - The North Atlantic Alliance, together with the European Union and the Strategic Partnership with the United States of America, ensures the strongest protection that Romania has benefited in its entire history, in the face of any threat to its national security, the Minister of Np[9ational Defence, Nicolae Ciuca said on Sunday.
"Today marks 17 years since Romania has been part of NATO, the strongest political-military alliance in the world. Along with membership in the European Union and the Strategic Partnership with the United States, this alliance provides the strongest protection Romania has benefited throughout its history, in the face of any threat to its national security. The road to integration into the North Atlantic Alliance has not been easy for our country and, certainly, the Romanian Army's military staff have played a key role in the national effort for NATO accession", underlined Minister Ciuca in a message sent at the ceremony of hoisting the national flag of Romania and the flag of the Alliance, held at the Ministry of Defence (MApN) headquarters on the occasion of NATO Day.
He mentioned that the Romanian forces were in Afghanistan and Kosovo when Romania was invited to join the Alliance and, when our country became a member of NATO, the Romanian troops were also in Iraq, in another difficult mission.
"The whole integration process was supported by the Romanian Army, efforts that strengthened and consolidated the political-diplomatic approaches of that period. Our troops proved then, as now, through dedication and professionalism, that they add value to the defensive, operational and projection capabilities of NATO missions. Many of us gladly attended the official hoisting of the Romanian flag at NATO Headquarters on April 2, 2004. At that time we felt pride, hope and a breath that everything would take a new trajectory. And so it was!", said the defence minister.
"Currently, almost 850 Romanian troops are participating in NATO operations, in which they successfully carry out their missions. Unfortunately, this effort was not without losses. The memory of the 30 Romanian servicemen who fell in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and the over 180 wounded troops force us not to forget their sacrifice, to keep their memory alive and to stand by their families", Ciuca added.AGERPRES (RO - author: Alina Novaceanu, editor: Marius Fratila; EN - author: Bogdan Gabaroi)