Bucharest (Romania), October 21: Visiting U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pledged here on Wednesday to continue to work with partners in the Black Sea region.
"We will continue to have about 1,000 soldiers, through rotation, in Romania," Austin said at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Nicolae Ciuca.
"The U.S. will continue to provide assistance to strengthen the maritime capabilities of Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia," added Austin.
At his meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Austin stressed the increased interest of his country to continue the development and diversification of cooperation with Romania.
On his part, the Romanian president said that his country will continue to be a strategic partner and a trusted ally, firmly engaged in the political and military strengthening of NATO.
Austin's visit to Romania is the second leg of his three-nation tour that also includes Georgia and Ukraine before he attends the two-day NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in Brussels, Belgium, which begins on Thursday.