VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you, President Iohannis, for the warm welcome to Romania and for your steadfast friendship to the partnership that we have that is longstanding and enduring.
I also want to recognize and thank Prime Minister Ciucă for the conversation that we had last week.
If I may, Mr. President, I’d like to speak directly to the Romanian people for one moment, to thank you, on behalf of the United States.
Under the leadership of President Iohannis, Romania has been extraordinary in the generosity and the courage that you have shown in this moment. Around the world, we have watched as you have received refugees. Around the world, and I will speak for the United States, we know of the particular challenges that you face geographically, yet you have shown so much courage.
The meeting that the President and I had today was a very productive meeting to reaffirm the strength of the relationship and friendship between the United States and Romania.
I’ve said many times, including this afternoon with the President and the President’s leadership, but around the world, and I will say it here: America’s commitment to Article 5 is ironclad. We take very seriously our role and the relationships that we have within the NATO Alliance.
We take seriously and are prepared to act on the words we speak when we say an attack against one is an attack against all. We are firm in our commitment — when I say and we say over and over again, President Joe Biden says: We will defend every inch of NATO territory.
So I am present in Romania today to reaffirm that commitment, in addition to thanking the president, your leadership, and the people of Romania.
The strength of our Alliance has endured and is now bigger and stronger than ever. The strength of our Alliance includes our mutual commitment to stand on the principles that we hold dear and share, that include the defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of independent states — and in this case, Ukraine.
We are clear that the work that is to be done in response to Putin’s war includes standing strong within the Alliance to support the needs of our partners. To that end, and to demonstrate our commitment as the United States, in recent weeks we sent a 1,000-member Stryker squadron. That creates a total force of 2,000 American troops who are prepared to stand in defense of our commitment to the NATO Alliance and the eastern flank.
We have reinforced our recent commitments, all with the mention and with the meaning of strengthening our deterrence and our collective defense.
I want to thank you, President Iohannis, for your leadership on NATO’s eastern flank. I want to thank you for in addition to doing all that you have been doing in your role of leadership, to modernizing and to increasing the resources that are available.
You and I talked about the importance of running a government in a way that we modernize and are efficient and effective with the resources we have. You have been a model in that regard, and I thank you.
In terms of our mutual support for the people of Ukraine — in Washington, in the United States Congress, we have taken recent action, including a commitment of $13.6 billion
for Ukraine and the region in terms of security assistance and humanitarian assistance.
The President — Iohannis and I talked extensively, and I was very moved, Mr. President, by the stories you shared with me of the time you spent with refugees, and the heart-wrenching experience that they are having.
So we stand together, Romania and the United States, in ensuring that we will do all that is required to put resources into the humanitarian piece of this, understanding that the needs are significant and immediate.
To the extent that we are offering humanitarian assistance, in addition to the $13.6 billion package from the United States Congress, $4 billion of that will be directly committed to humanitarian assistance. That is on top of the $53 million that I announced yesterday that, through the U.N., the United States will give to the World Food Programme.
But I must say, when we are talking about humanitarian assistance, Romania has been a hub of humanitarian assistance. And that is yet another reason that we are here to thank the President and the people of this great country for what you are doing based on the needs of this region. You have been welcoming tens of thousands of refugees, and doing it with such compassion and such grace.
So I’ll conclude my remarks by saying that this is a strong and enduring relationship. It is an important relationship. And the importance of this relationship is being highlighted at this very moment. But it is a relationship that will continue over the years.
And again, I thank you, Mr. President, and the people of this beautiful country for all you do and all you represent. Thank you.