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Bulgaria, Romania Discuss Elements of NATO's Readiness Action Plan

Bulgaria's Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev and his Romanian counterpart Mircea Dusa on Tuesday discussed the creation of command and control elements that would be deployed in the two countries as part of NATO's Readiness Action Plan.

The two defence ministers also agreed upon the need to exchange Bulgarian and Romanian military personnel as well as sharing experience in the implementation of command and control elements under the plan, the Defence Ministry in Sofia said in a statement.

The Readiness Action Plan was approved by US President Barack Obama and leaders of the 27 other allied nations at a summit meeting in Wales in September 2014.

The plan calls for the creation of a rapid-reaction force of a few thousand troops to protect eastern Europe from a potential security threat from Russia following the annexation of Crimea by Moscow. Most of the force would be stationed outside eastern Europe in the absence of a crisis. Equipment and supplies will be stockpiled in the region and planners brought in should a need arise.

Dusa's visit to Sofia, which comes just days after Nenchev's talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, was aimed at coordinating the positions of Bulgaria and Romania ahead of the planned meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels next month, according to the statement.

Nenchev and Dusa also discussed opportunities for a more efficient use of the military training ranges of the two countries' armies in conducting joint exercises with NATO members and partner nations.,

They agreed that additional financing should be sought to meet the need of strengthening NATO's southeastern tip.

Moscow, which has repeatedly denied any military involvement in the fighting in Ukraine, has accused NATO of using the crisis there as a pretext to move its infrastructure closer to Russia's borders.

[Source: Sofia News Agency, Bgr, 27Jan15]

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