Thank you, Minister Ciucă. And thank you to Ambassador Stoian and Mr Pintea for bringing this exhibition to NATO.
These photos remind us of the very human faces behind NATO’s missions and operations: not only the brave and professional servicemen and women from Romania, other Allies and our partners; including some who have made the ultimate sacrifice; but also the Afghan communities they serve.
Romania has been a longstanding supporter of our efforts in Afghanistan. Today, it is one of the largest contributors to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, with some 800 service members on the ground. In total, this mission consists of more than 16,000 troops from 38 NATO Allies and partners. And tomorrow afternoon we will have a meeting with all contributing Nations.
The situation in Afghanistan remains difficult. But we are firmly committed the country’s long-term security and stability. Our focus remains the same: to support the Afghan security forces. So that they can fight terrorism and create the conditions for peace. And the Afghan security forces are getting stronger, and better led.
We fully support the efforts led by the US to end the conflict and achieve lasting peace. Over the last year, Allies have consulted closely with the US Special Representative, Ambassador Khalilzad, who visited NATO recently to discuss the latest developments. The Taliban must understand they cannot win on the battlefield. They must commit to a reduction in violence. And show that they are genuinely committed to a peaceful future for Afghanistan. A stable Afghanistan is essential for the stability of the region. And for peace and security for us all.
Our Resolute Support Mission is a strong symbol of the continued global support to the government and the people of Afghanistan. And these photos symbolise what this support means. They remind us that the sacrifice of brave service members, like Corporal Stoica, were not in vain.
Our Resolute Support Mission is making a difference. For the people and the future of Afghanistan. And for our own security.