France wants to Lead a New Multinational NATO Contingent in the BalkansEU | February 3, 2022, Thursday // 14:27| views
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is in Bucharest, met virtually today with nine of his Eastern European counterparts to discuss the crisis over Ukraine, Reuters reported. According to information from ClubZ, the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodora Genchovska also participated.
In a speech to the Romanian parliament yesterday, Le Drian said Paris wanted to show its solidarity and emphasize the unity of the European Union after Russia chose to act as a destabilizing force.
“France is ready to commit to new NATO security measures in Romania,” Le Drian said, speaking with Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu. “We are proud to stand by you when the security situation deteriorates along your borders, which are also our borders.”
NATO has a multinational ground force of 4,000 troops in Romania. The United States has its own troops temporarily stationed at bases in Romania and Bulgaria, Reuters notes.
The agency quoted French officials as saying that Paris's goal now is to set up a mission similar to those in the Baltic republics, with a leading country coordinating their land, air and naval forces.
France is proposing that it be the mission's leading country, which could include about 1,000 troops from different countries.
The mission's outline will be discussed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in mid-February. While the political decision could be made then, the deployment of forces would take some time, diplomats were quoted as saying.
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