Ministrul afacerilor externe Bogdan Aurescu a participat miercuri, 16 noiembrie 2022, Ã®n calitate de vorbitor principal, la prima ediÈ›ie a Forumului internaÈ›ional cu tema â€žBlack Sea Perspectivesâ€ organizat de cÄƒtre Centrul Euro-Atlantic pentru RezilienÈ›Äƒ (E-ARC), cu sprijinul Ministerului Afacerilor Externe.
Sesiunea deschisÄƒ de ministrul afacerilor externe Bogdan Aurescu a fost dedicatÄƒ rezilienÈ›ei lanÈ›urilor de aprovizionare Ã®n contextul provocÄƒrilor la adresa securitÄƒÈ›ii alimentare È™i a avut titlul â€œHybrid Threats to the Resilience of Food Supply Chains: Focus on the Black Sea Regionâ€. Â È˜eful diplomaÈ›iei romÃ¢ne a evidenÈ›iat cÄƒ invazia rusÄƒ Ã®mpotriva Ucrainei a avut un profund efect perturbator pentru exporturile de grÃ¢ne din Ucraina cÄƒtre destinaÈ›ii din Ã®ntreaga lume, fiind astfel reconfirmatÄƒ importanÈ›a regiunii MÄƒrii Negre Ã®n cadrul lanÈ›urilor de aprovizionare la nivel global. AceastÄƒ realitate reclamÄƒ consolidarea rezilienÈ›ei lanÈ›urilor de aprovizionare, la nivel regional È™i global, printr-un cumul de mÄƒsuri, de la demersuri politico-diplomatice la eforturi economice, logistice È™i administrative pentru asigurarea unor rute maritime sigure È™i pentru diversificarea surselor de aprovizionare.Â
ÃŽn acest context, ministrul Bogdan Aurescu a evocat importanÈ›a contribuÈ›iei E-ARC la dezbaterile actuale privind rezilienÈ›a la nivel euroatlantic, Ã®n contextul crizelor multidimensionale exacerbate pe fondul rÄƒzboiului dus de FederaÈ›ia RusÄƒ Ã®n Ucraina È™i al dimensiunii sale hibride.
ÃŽn cadrul intervenÈ›iei sale, ministrul Bogdan Aurescu s-a referit pe larg la eforturile RomÃ¢niei Ã®n sprijinul consolidÄƒrii acestei rezilienÈ›e, atÃ¢t la nivel naÈ›ional, cÃ¢t È™i prin contribuÈ›ii susÈ›inute la procesul de reflecÈ›ie strategicÄƒ dedicat acestui obiectiv la nivelul UE È™i al NATO È™i Ã®n dialogul cu partenerii like-mindedÂ È™i a evidenÈ›iat seria de decizii cruciale, cu efecte pozitive, luate Ã®n ultimele luni, ca reacÈ›ie la agresiunea Rusiei: acordarea statutului de state candidate la UE pentru Ucraina È™i Republica Moldova, recunoaÈ™terea perspectivei europene pentru Georgia; demararea procesului de aderare la NATO pentru Finlanda È™i Suedia; consolidarea posturii de descurajare È™i apÄƒrare pe Flancul Estic È™i la Marea NeagrÄƒ; creÈ™terea bugetelor de apÄƒrare la nivel Aliat, inclusiv de cÄƒtre RomÃ¢nia; mÄƒsuri pentru reducerea drasticÄƒ a dependenÈ›elor de Rusia È™i altele.
A subliniat, totodatÄƒ, importanÈ›a eforturilor de adaptare È™i de sprijinire a partenerilor vulnerabili, Ã®n special Ucraina, Republica Moldova È™i Georgia, ca parte a dimensiunii externe a rezilienÈ›ei comunitÄƒÈ›ii euroatlantice de valori È™i securitate.
È˜eful diplomaÈ›iei romÃ¢ne a evidenÈ›iat concentrarea eforturilor autoritÄƒÈ›ilor romÃ¢ne, pe parcursul ultimelor luni, pe asigurarea unei contribuÈ›ii consistente la mÄƒsurile de combatere a insecuritÄƒÈ›ii alimentare la nivel global. ÃŽn acest sens, ministrul Bogdan Aurescu a subliniat faptul cÄƒ acÈ›iunea RomÃ¢niei, Ã®n plan politico-diplomatic, dar È™i sectorial, a permis ca prin È›ara noastrÄƒ sÄƒ treacÄƒ, de la Ã®nceputul conflictului, peste 6,5 milioane de tone de cereale ucrainene cÄƒtre destinaÈ›ii terÈ›e.
IntervenÈ›ia video a ministrului afacerilor externe Bogdan Aurescu poate fi urmÄƒritÄƒ aici: http://www.mae.ro/node/60171
Transmitem, Ã®n continuare, transcrierea discursului Ã®n limba englezÄƒ al ministrului afacerilor externe Bogdan Aurescu:
Thank you so much for this introduction and for the kind invitation to take part in this very important conference.
It is, for me, a great pleasure, because this is also the first Euro-Atlantic Resilience Forum meeting and this is a very dear project to me, if we speak about the Euro-Atlantic Resilience Center. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and myself personally, we invested a lot of time and a lot of effort in order for the Center to become operational in these very challenging times. And I trust that the Center is indeed becoming a relevant voice within the national and the international expert circles. I would like to commend the leadership and dedication of the President of the Center, Mr. RaeÈ›chi.
This event is highly promising and especially timely, because both NATO and the European Union are in the process of recalibrating their long-term strategic thought and action. We need complex responses, because of the overlapping crises that we have to face, and we need to advance the resilience of the Member States of these two organizations and of the organizationsâ€™ as such.
At national level, our focus on resilience has both an internal and an external dimension. As unprecedented crises of various origins and levels of complexity are rapidly succeeding, it is of paramount importance to adapt quickly and to transform the challenges into opportunities for improvement.
In the last few years, we have seen hybrid threats, along with disinformation and cyber-attacks â€“ which became, unfortunately, a part of our daily lives, against this backdrop of blatant attacks to our democracies. The war in Ukraine brought back the invocation of the nuclear option, which is very serious, either bluntly or as part of possible false flag operations.
And, against this background, the incident of last evening on the territory of Poland, close to the border with Ukraine, shows that it is extremely important to be very careful, in terms of assessing and in terms of strategically communicating, and also in terms of taking decisions. This shows how difficult and sensitive the security situation is â€“ the situation which was prompted by the war of Russia against Ukraine. As I have already stated, we are in close contact with our Strategic Partner and Ally, Poland, and it is very important that all circumstances of the incident be clarified. At this very moment, the Ambassadors of the NATO countries are meeting in Brussels, in the North-Atlantic Council, and they are discussing about the incident. We have taken note of the statements by Presidents Biden and Duda, and I would like to state again that there is no room for making speculations, because we need to be crystal-clear about the circumstances of the incident.
I would like to reiterate what both the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, and the Prime Minister of Romania, Mr. Nicolae CiucÄƒ, have stated: our strong solidarity with Poland. We express our condolences for the two victims of the last eveningâ€™s explosion. But the fact is that the manner in which Russia is attacking the civil infrastructure in Ukraine is inadmissible, thus trying to diminish the societal resilience of the country and the backing of the population,Â of the Ukrainian people, for the fight of the Government against the aggression of Russia.
But, if we speak about opportunities, the crisis is not all about negative consequences. The current complex situation also determined us to take important decisions, which were difficult to imagine some time ago. For instance, now Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova are EU candidate countries, and Georgia has been recognized as having a clear European perspective. At the same time, Finland and Sweden, formally neutral states, decided to start the process of becoming NATO Allies. We also took crucial decisions to consolidate our deterrence and defense posture on the Eastern Flank, and especially at the Black Sea. Allies, Romania included, have taken new decisions to increase their defense expenditures. We have accelerated the measures for cutting off our dependencies from Russia. And I think that one of the lessons learned from all these crises is that we have to get rid of any kind of dependence on Russia.
We consolidated our resilience, we consolidated the resilience of our partners â€“ we still have a lot to do in that respect, and at the same time we have strengthened the European and Euro-Atlantic unity. If Russia considered that its actions could diminish or break our unity, the effect was the opposite!
And we are also more determined than ever to defend the rules-based international order. All these elements are in fact opportunities, which have stepped up from this crisis. In this context, the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine and other current risks are thus signaling once again the need for more strategic resilience, with a prominent external dimension, which I will address today as part of this exchange on food security.
Working towards strengthening Europeâ€™s strategic resilience at all levels is our ticket for acting more efficiently in the future, absorbing shocks, streamlining necessary tools for efficient and forward-looking policy-making. Romania has been advocating for years for the need to support our neighborhood, the EUâ€™s Eastern and Southern neighborhood, as well as the Western Balkans.
Our action is especially robust in the belief that the EU cannot be strong globally if it is not able to have positive projections in its own neighborhood. The invasion of Ukraine and the tremendous impact on food and energy security demonstrated again the importance of consolidating the resilience in the Black Sea region by all means.
The Black Sea region has long been the main target area for Russiaâ€™s aggressive behavior against ex-Soviet riparian and adjacent states and the Russian design laboratory for generating, fueling and instrumentalising the so-called â€œfrozenâ€ or â€œprotractedâ€ conflicts against these states. It is the region where Russia first tested its disintegration tactics, through military aggression against states like the Republic of Moldova, back in 1992, Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014 and then after that. It is also Moscowâ€™s main platform for hybrid warfare against the EU and NATO. It is also the venue of Russiaâ€™s attempt to saw divisions and discord between Allies, as a prelude to the open, premeditated and unprovoked aggression launched against Ukraine in February. Hard security threats around the Black Sea as well are visible in the heavy militarization of Crimea and the Black Sea. These effects are exacerbated by targeted hybrid action and they are felt around the world, as we can see in the case of the current challenges, as far as food security is concerned.
Hybrid threats must not be underestimated. The scale and size of their impact is broader than imagined. Any sound response to challenges in this context must be built around the goal of enhancing the resilience of Allies, EU Member States, but also of their vulnerable partners, especially in the Black Sea region. Our further action on resilience is, of course, linked to the relevant steps taken at NATO and EU level so far. The NATO Summit in Madrid was a decisive moment, a turning point for a stronger and more coherent defense on the Eastern Flank, an integral part of a long-term consolidated vision of the Alliance for defense and deterrence. These decisions must be fully implemented, as soon as possible, while keeping in mind that the Black Sea is recognized as a region of strategic importance for the Alliance in the NATO Strategic Concept, which we adopted in Madrid. The entire regionâ€™s profile is outstanding and we have all the necessary premises to continue our support for consolidating the resilience and defense capacities of Ukraine, Republic of Moldova and Georgia.
We are today less than two weeks away from the upcoming NATO Foreign Ministersâ€™ meeting, which I am honored to host on behalf of Romania, in Bucharest, on November 29-30. It will be the first meeting of this high profile taking place in Romania after the 2008 NATO Summit. At the same time, this NATO Foreign Ministerial, which testifies of the strategic importance of the Black Sea, will hold a key role in assessing the implementation of the Madrid Summit decisions, especially regarding the defense and deterrence posture on the Eastern Flank.
The Foreign Ministersâ€™ meeting will also highlight the importance of NATO-EU cooperation towards capacity building in the region. The EU is investing heavily in the resilience of Ukraine, but also of the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, including through the European Peace Facility. NATO has also created a fund dedicated to strengthening Ukraineâ€™s resilience and defense capacity, the Voluntary Fund on the Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine, to which Romania has recently contributed with USD 400,000.
But building resilience is a complex undertaking. This concerns not only the creation and consolidation of technical capacities and physical infrastructure for swift responses to disruptions, but it is also about measures to contain the impact on the citizensâ€™ stable way of life. The war is shaking the existential pillars of the global food system, which already has a precarious situation. Consequences of the war in Ukraine include disrupting supply chains, raising the cost of energy, fueling inflation, endangering food security – but this especially affects countries which are highly dependent, from Africa and Asia, and they have been also affected by the post-pandemic economic situation.
When the war started, we were already living through the widest rethinking and repositioning of the global production and supply chains in decades, which went beyond our effort to increase supply chain resilience in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russian aggression brutally interrupted the flow of agricultural goods from Ukraine and cut supplies for vulnerable markets.
As the NATO and EU Member State having the longest border with Ukraine, Romania has been at the forefront of the response to this multidimensional crisis prompted by Russiaâ€™s aggression, especially as far as the efforts to prevent a global food crisis are concerned. We duly sought political and practical logistic solutions to facilitate the transport and transit of Ukrainian grain to international markets and thus trying to reduce the risk of global food insecurity.
Since the start of the invasion, the Romanian Black Sea port of ConstanÈ›a and our ports on the Danube River became main gateways for Ukrainian grain shipments abroad. Romania liberalized the bilateral road transport and freight in transit with Ukraine, offering support in Romanian ports to Ukrainian flagged ships, adopting the wide gauge railway line to ensure connection to the rail freight transport and facilitate access to the port of GalaÈ›i on the Danube. And, until now, we managed to export over 6.5 million tons of Ukrainian grain through our country.
We need not to forget that food security is still in a state of high risk because, only a few weeks ago, we have noticed that Russia has suspended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative and it only resumed it a couple of days after. The UN-brokered agreement has made, together with the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes, an important difference, by allowing the export of grain and agricultural products from Ukraine to the global markets and to countries most needing, including in the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Afghanistan.
And I would also like to note that, during the implementation of the Black Sea Green Initiative, the grain prices dropped significantly, with the Initiative helping avoid the expansion of the phenomenon of extreme poverty. We have commended the consistent work and efforts towards signing the Black Sea Green Initiative in July. In the last three months, it has proven instrumental indeed, and we hope for a positive outcome in the long run and for the continuation of this Initiative, which is again crucial for global food security, beyond November 19. Letâ€™s keep our fingers crossed.
I assure you that Romania remains a firm contributor to regional and global stability and food security. We will continue to support the export of Ukrainian grain to those in need beyond the Black Sea Grain Initiativeâ€™s framework. Actually, if we compare the effort of Romania to the total amount of grain which was transported through the Solidarity Lanes, 14.5 million tons out of which 6.5 million tons where transited through Romania, and we compare this also with the 10 million tons of grain which were facilitated by the Black Sea Grain Initiative, you may have a picture of the effort of Romania in that regard.
At the same time, we welcome the commitment of the multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to combine their expertise and financing to quickly increase policy and financial support to countries and households vulnerable to food crisis and to increase domestic agricultural production and supply to affected countries, in line with the transition to sustainable food systems. What is really important is to help the countries in the Global South to become self-sustainable.
This was the main message which I was conveyed to when I met with many of my African colleagues in the margins of the High-level Week of the UN General Assembly in September. All of them told me this: â€œYes, we need immediate help now, because we need support for coping with the immediate crisis of food suppliesâ€, but in the long run they need, of course, help in order to become self-sustainable.
We must also be aware that food security has become a favorite topic for Russian disinformation on a global scale. Russia is using the narrative that sanctions, our sanctions against Russia, and not its blatant military aggression against Ukraine, are the key driver for the global economic and food crisis, which is, of course, wrong. In many parts of the globe, Russian disinformation and manipulation about the challenges to food security have taken the same route also due to the distrust in what they call the â€œWesternâ€ or the â€œUN systemâ€. And I think it is extremely important to support all countries in the South, not only with concrete food supplies and support in order to become self-sustainable, but also with proper information and proper arguments showing that, in fact, itâ€™s Russia and not us who created this aggravation of the food security crisis. So when we have this approach, of Western countries which are criticized by the countries in Africa or the Global South in general, I think we should be ready to explain what the reality is in fact. Disinformation has created a landscape in which it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between root causes and symptoms or between structural problems and short term issues. And that is why we have joined the international effort to fight disinformation and we will continue to do that, with all our efforts and together with all our partners.
So, distinguished guests, Romania and the Romanian people have done their utmost to help Ukraine and the refugees that sought shelter from this brutal war. Over 2.8 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border of Romania. Everybody was treated in the most considerate manner and we tried to provide all conditions available to us. At the same time, our support to Ukraine will continue to be very strong, to be manifold, and we are advancing on many tracks, from the political, economic, financial, I mentioned already the humanitarian, but also diplomatic and in the field of international law.
In this context, we should remain aware of the importance of the Black Sea region in the global food supply chain, and I hope that these ideas will be discussed today, and I hope that the experience shared in Bucharest with the occasion of this Forum will become part of a reflection process on how to overcome the hybrid threats to the resilience of our regionâ€™s security and values imposed by the illegal military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which is â€“ again â€“ an attack on global security, with consequences of global proportions.
So Iâ€™m confident that the resilience-building instruments that we are now putting into motion will continue to deliver and to deliver benefits for the people and will underpin the reconstruction effort in Ukraine.
Thank you so much.