U.S. Army Europe Commander: Romania is making efforts to modernize equipment

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U.S. Army Europe Commander, Lieutenant General Frederick Benjamin "Ben" Hodges, on Saturday voiced his conviction that Romania will manage to spend the 2 percent of the GDP allotted to the Army this year, pointing out that the country is making efforts to modernize the equipment.

U.S. Army Europe Commander, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges (center)

I believe Romania will reach the 2 percent of the GDP for Defence this year, seven years before the deadline. What is important isn't only the money, but leadership, too, the continuation of training and modernization. Romania is making efforts to modernize the equipment, Hodges said at the end of the Saber Guardian 2017 exercise taking place at Cincu, Brasov County.

He pointed out that the U.S. are committed to contribute to the Black Sea area security.

It is a proof that Romania is a trustworthy ally. (...) It has quality people. Today, there has been another demonstration why Romania is an important ally in NATO. No one should wonder if the U.S. is involved in Europe's security and stability. You have seen the proof today. When the U.S. is serious about something, we come up with money, US soldiers, Hodges showed.

He maintained that the Saber Guardian exercise will not lead to an escalation of tensions with Russia. Deterrence means capabilities, making sure that any potential threat knows we are prepared to do what it takes, but it also means leaving the door open. We want the Russian Federation to be a responsible member of the global community. We want Russia to come back to the global community. (...) The door is open, but the best chance for them to come back to that door is that the Alliance remain strong, for Russia respects power, the U.S. Army Europe Commander mentioned.

In his turn, Chief of General Staff, General Nicolae Ciuca, said that this exercise is meant to show that Romania is a trustworthy ally.

"It wasn't only an exercise through which we wanted to show the military capabilities that the participating country's armies have, but it was an exercise meant to obtain a maximum effect in the line of inter-operativity, the line of planning, coordination and integrated conduct of field actions, and today it was the peak moment which I was personally very impressed with, for its coordination manner, for what the commanders have managed to achieve, everything that the servicemen have managed on field. (...) It was a perfect synchronization among the land and air forces, the infantry, artillery, helicopters' and aircraft's fire. I still feel the emotion of the satisfaction given by the accomplished mission," Ciuca added.

He thanked those who contributed to planning, organizing and conducting the military exercise.

President Klaus Iohannis was also present at the Saber Guardian 2017 military exercise at Cincu. AGERPRES (RO — author: Florentina Peia, editor: Georgiana Tanasescu; EN — editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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