Vice President Joe Biden visits Romania and Cyprus
Joe Biden has arrived in Bucharest on Tuesday at what one senior official called a “complicated and challenging time in Europe” fostered by Russia’s “destabilizing” actions in Ukraine. Joe Biden said they all “must remain resolute in imposing greater costs on Russia and imposing those costs together”. “Europe’s borders should never again be changed at the point of a gun, which is why we continue to condemn — condemn — Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea” Mr. Biden said at an air base in the Romanian capital of Bucharest where he met American and Romanian forces involved in joint military exercises.
A lot of discussion focused lately on Article 5 of NATO treaty – the “all for one, and one for all” principle that provides for a collective response to an armed attack on any member. To be…or not to be sure to support of others ! The new Strategic Concept, adopted at the Alliance’s 2010 Lisbon summit, established collective defense as one of its three main tasks, underscoring the importance of developing contingency plans, organizing joint exercises and training, and creating “visible assurance” within member states.
Since Crimea was annexed, NATO has put AWACS surveillance planes in the skies over Poland and Romania, dispatched warships to the Baltic and Black seas and sent U.S. Army troops to Poland, Romania and the Baltic states. Romania, a staunch U.S. ally, joined NATO in 2004 and the U.S. has a base in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. Biden will meet President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Wednesday, when American vice-president will try to reassure Romania leaders that nobody should doubt Washington’s commitment to Article Five of the alliance’s charter, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.
The confrontation between Russia and the West will also be a key issue in Cyprus where Biden will arrive on Wednesday.
The Cypriot government has warned of the devastating impact that any new sanctions directly targeting the Russian economy could have on its own fortunes, given that its finance industry is a key conduit of Russian investment and savings.
The senior US official noted that Cyprus, as a European Union member, was party to the bloc’s decision making and actions in imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. “We are aware and understanding of the exposure of Cyprus to Russian economic activity and Russia economy pressure” the official said.
In March, Biden visited Lithuania and Poland and traveled to Ukraine the following month. President Barack Obama also is expected to visit Poland in June for the 25th anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections.