U.S. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander, U.S. European Command, along with USEUCOM Civilian Deputy & Foreign Policy Advisor Ambassador Kate Byrnes joined U.S. chiefs-of-mission in Bucharest, Romania, Jan. 23, to discuss the command’s support to U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic efforts in the Black Sea Region.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine altered the security environment in the Black Sea Region,” said Cavoli. “The region is of critical geostrategic importance to USEUCOM, our Allies and our partners. This conference brought together America’s diplomatic and military leaders with a focus on advancing the collective territorial security of the Black Sea Region.”
The conference gathered senior leaders from USEUCOM and eight U.S. ambassadors to discuss whole-of-government support to America’s Allies and partners in the face of increasing threats and challenges across the Black Sea region.
“We take the shared commitment of security seriously and are working toward a return of a secure, prosperous and interconnected Black Sea Region that contributes to robust global commerce,” said Byrnes. “Our enduring strategic relationships with these countries are the foundation of collective cooperation. We are committed to working with our Allies and partners to ensure freedom of navigation and investments that enhance economic opportunities and build resilience in this critical region.”
USEUCOM personnel joined U.S. ambassadors in panel discussions engaging on critical security topics, including Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, access and security in the Black Sea, and regional plans for deterrence and defense. Host country officials Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luminita Odobescu and Minister of Defense Angel Tilvar joined the group for an informative briefing and productive discussion.
"The Black Sea is crucial for global peace and stability, and its importance is only expected to increase in the coming years,” said U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec.
“It is a vital export transit route, and its interconnectors facilitate trade and energy flows between Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East, making it a crucial economic hub. Russia's war against Ukraine is the most significant conflict in Europe since World War II, and today’s biggest threat to international order,” Kavalec added. “Such an attack on the international order anywhere affects peace and stability everywhere including in the Black Sea region.”
The discussion in Bucharest advanced efforts by U.S. Defense and State Department leaders to merge strategic initiatives and interagency coordination to counter threats and strengthen partnerships.
Attendees included U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien, Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, Ambassador to Georgia Robin Dunnigan, Ambassador to Türkiye Jeffrey Flake, Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien, Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mark Libby, Ambassador to Moldova Kent Logsdon, Ambassador to the Russian Federation Lynne Tracy, and U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Bulgaria Andrea Brouillette-Rodriguez.
Chiefs-of-mission conferences facilitate strategic discussions among U.S. diplomatic and defense leaders to formulate strategic initiatives to further U.S. foreign policy and national security.
U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 military and civilian personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, visit www.eucom.mil.