Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis says some Romanian troops have been pulled out of Iraq amid tensions over the killing of Iranian military leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Iohannis confirmed Tuesday during a visit to Bavaria in Germany that “a number of our troops in Iraq have already been relocated.”
It was the first time the Romanian president has publicly commented on the situation in the Middle East after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani, who died in an airstrike outside Baghdad International Airport on January 3.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has promised retaliation. The U.S. moved to send more troops to the Middle East.
More than a dozen Romanian soldiers are part of NATO’s joint task force operation Inherent Resolvewhich helps train and equip 28 Iraqi brigades comprising thousands of soldiers.
“We also have troops stationed in Iraq who are part of NATO’s forces… they are instructors… and their safety is our concern.”
NATO suspended training of Iraqi forces to ensure the safety of several hundred mission members amid fears for regional stability after the airstrike.
Iohannis reiterated that “the strategic partnership with the United States is solid and functions very well, and the anti-missile shield in Deveselu is part of NATO’s defensive system is very good and is functioning optimally,” he said.
“I don’t see any problems, but we should be realistic. The situation in Iraq concerns us because there are a lot of Romanians who live and work in the Middle East, in Iraq and other countries.”
“I am convinced that the only solution to this crisis… is a calm, diplomatic approach, and a de-escalation (of tensions) … and a return to calm in the area.”
Iohannis is meeting officials during an official visit to Bavaria on Tuesday where leaders are discussing European issues and bilateral ties.