UK Ambassador praises Romania for donating Patriot defense system to Ukraine

Britain’s Ambassador to Romania, Giles Portman, on Thursday used the occasion of King Charles’ Birthday party to praise Romania for donating a Patriot defense system to Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s assault, calling the country “a very important and powerful ally.”

His remarks made to guests on blisteringly hot day in the leafy grounds of the National Bank Arena in  Bucharest came hours after Romania historically donated a Patriot missile system to neighboring Ukraine to boost its defense in its war with Russia.

The decision was made by the Supreme Council of National Defense, following coordination with allies and is conditional on Romania receiving a similar or equivalent system. The U.S.-made air defense system to be sent to Ukraine is one of several Romania possesses.

„I am very grateful for what Romania has done. This demonstrates that Romania is a very important and strong ally for NATO, for the United Kingdom,” Mr. Portman told hundreds attending the event.

“It is all testament to our growing defense relationship, and our shared determination to defend our people and our values; to make the Black Sea neighborhood safe again; and to support Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression – the defining struggle of our generation,” he added.

He evoked the strategic partnership between the UK and Romania.

” It has been an excellent year for bilateral relations…in trade, in defense or in the fight against organized crime,” Mr. Portman said. UK/Romania trade has passed £10 billion this year.

The King’s Birthday Party has a special meaning in Romania as the monarch has a close  and personal relationship with the country. It is the first year that King Charles has skipped his annual visit to Romania after his cancer diagnosis.

“As this is the King’s birthday party, I want to recognize that, of course, it has not been the easiest of year’s for His Majesty, given his own health concerns and concerns of others in his close family. And I’m sure you join me in wishing them all our very best, “he said.

Charles’ actual birthday is on November 14, but like his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, he celebrates an official birthday in June, when the weather in the UK is traditionally better.

In a sign of the affection many Romanians have for Charles, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitalization, Bogdan Ivan, paid tribute to the monarch who has been visiting Romania almost every year since 1998. Charles owns properties and has a foundation here.

„His Majesty King Charles III has always shown passion and dedication to public services, protecting the environment and preserving culture. For more than 30 years, King Charles III has been a dear and close friend of Romania through projects related to the environment and culture. For me, King Charles is one of the greatest ambassadors of Romania and Transylvania around the world,” the minister said

Romania celebrated a landmark  20th anniversary of NATO membership this year and since Mr. Portman took up his post in January, he said he’d ”celebrated the arrival in Constanta of the Romanian Navy’s Sandown minehunters from the UK; and the return of RAF Typhoons to carry out NATO air policing” from Mihail Kogalniceanu base on the Black Sea.

After the speeches, guests listened to live music such as Mai Frumoasa by Laura Stoica and Moldovenii S-au Nascut and British hits, Tonight – David Bowie  and Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen and I Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison.

Guests  tucked into a British feast of roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, fish and chips and artistically decorated canapes and pretty cakes. In the scorching heat– possibly the hottest day of 2024 so far–partygoers sipped large G&Ts and cold beer.

Diplomats, members of the business community, representatives of non-governmental organizations and organizations such as the World Health Organization and resident UK nationals   and clergy such as Anglican priest Nevsky Everett were at the party.

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