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Biden, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis celebrate 20 years of NATO membership

By Mike Heuer
President Joe Biden (R) listens to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI
1 of 3 | President Joe Biden (R) listens to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

May 7 (UPI) -- Romania joined NATO 20 years ago and on Tuesday celebrated two decades of NATO service as the United States, Romania and other NATO nations continue supporting Ukraine against Russia.

President Joe Biden welcomed Romanian President Klaus Iohannis to the White House Tuesday to discuss current events and celebrate Romania's 20 years as a member of NATO.

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"I fought very hard for Romania's admission to NATO" while he was a U.S. senator, Biden said during a speech Tuesday. "You've exceeded every expectation."

Romania is positioned on the eastern flank of the NATO alliance within striking distance of the Crimea Peninsula and Russia along the northern shore of the Black Sea.

Biden said the United States has about 1,800 active military members in Romania, and Romania's membership in NATO helps strengthen the military alliance's eastern flank near Russia.

"I want to thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership,especially in the Black Sea," Biden said. "You've been incredible" and "the help you provided for Ukraine is ... significant."

Biden and Iohannis said Romania's NATO membership has helped strengthen ties between the United States and Romania and emphasized the importance of cooperating the help Ukraine win its defensive war against Russia.

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"The most important issue is to find the way to reinstall peace in Europe," Iohannis said. "We have to find ways to prevent Russia to win this war in Ukraine, and here we have to stay united."

Biden said the United States and Romania have made strong commitments to the NATO alliance.

"You've stepped up, and you've been incredible," Biden said of Romania. "What you've done and what we're going to continue to do together ... is going to be significant, no only for Europe but for the rest of the world."

Biden and Iohannis addressed media prior to their bilateral meeting Tuesday afternoon.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday Biden and Iohannis would review many areas in which the two nations could work together.

Those areas include economic cooperation, shared democratic values and energy.

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