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Victor Micula: We met the standards required by a NATO Summit

The budget granted to organize the Bucharest NATO Summit will not be entirely spent, according to the organizers’ estimations.

No important alarms or security incidents have been reported during the NATO Summit period, declared in an interview for ROMPRES Victor Micula, the State Secretary at the MAE, the coordinator of the working group assigned with the organisation of the event.

Mr. Micula has also mentioned that Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, confirmed his visit to Bucharest with only a few hours before.

ROMPRES: Mr. Micula, now, a few days after the NATO Summit ended, could you tell us whether you still have some financial resources left or wether you exceeded the budget?

VICTOR MICULA: We estimate that we are within the budget granted for this event. In the next 45 days, all credit release authorities will verify if the contracts concluded have been implemented and they will make all necessary payments. We are likely to be informed about the total cost of the event around the first half of May. But, as far as we know, we estimate that we spent less than the budget initially granted.

Now, we - the team who contributed to organizing the Bucharest Nato Summit - focus our attention on documenting what we have learnt here, so that the next team responsible for supervising such a big event should rely on our experience, too.

We have been very much supported by the experience of the Francophone Sommet’ organizers.

The team managed by Mr. Cristian Preda created a similar documentary, that we could have access to during the planning stage of the NATO Summit. Moreover, we could learn from the experience of the organizers of the Prague Summit, the Istanbul Summit and the Riga Summit. We hope to elaborate a documentary material which will help the teams in charge of organizing similar events.

ROMPRES: Could you tell us what this material contains and if you intend to publish it or when it will be ready?

VICTOR MICULA: This material will be a very detailed analysis of the event. We will verify if all our scenarios were realistic enough. We will analyse the performance of all people involved, starting with drivers, infodesk people from the airport, hotels, the Parliament Palace. All domains in relation to the NATO Summit will be reviewed, starting from the experience of the people in charge of division, audio-system, security devices, transport, public diplomacy, protocol, communications and evaluating the performance of every person involved and the validity or fesability of the different scenarios that we imagined for this event.

The documentary material will not be published, as it will belong to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is designed to be only for similar - status teams.

ROMPRES: Can you specify if most of the expenses have been assigned to the security system or to the acquisition department?

VICTOR MICULA: Most of our financial resources will be spent on the Press Conference Center and on the Media Center. Out of 90 million lei granted for the Summit, 25 million lei - for the House of Deputies.

ROMPRES: Is the communication system included, too, or only the logistics?

VICTOR MICULA: We strictly refer to the division system: translation services, catering, branding, etc.

ROMPRES: On the first day, at the Media Center the audio-system did not work properly: the press conference of the president George W. Bush could not be heard.

VICTOR MICULA: It was not an audio-system problem, but a problem with how much the journalists who arrived there, knew. The Media Center could work at full capacity on 3rd April, while the Summit was unfolding its activities. Previously, we tried to start different IT, communication facilities. We opted for the headphone system, as on both floors, P and P1, there were around 500 telephone stations, desktops to be connected to laptops and a lot of screens. It was the best solution in order to avoid the terrible noise in these spaces and its negative effect upon the journalists’ activities. I am referring only to the headphone system.

All journalists who needed the audio system for President Basescu’s speech on 1st April, in the evening, and for President Bush’s speech on 2nd April, in the morning, had our webcast at their disposal, by laptop connection and fitting. The Telecom infodesk was placed in front of the press infodesk, where anyone could download both audio and video speeches, live or recorded.

The journalist accredited for Reuters, who had an orientation problem - he thought he was in Budapest, instead of Bucharest - also had an access - to -information problem. He considered that, if he did not have headphones, he was denied the access to the audio system. Having asked this at the infodesk, the journalist was guided to the fitting area to download President Bush’s audio and video speech.

ROMPRES: Have you had a feedback about the journalists from the NATO delegations? Have they declared their satisfaction?

VICTOR MICULA: All delegations were extremelly satisfied and they highly appreciated our efforts. Therefore, we consider that we met all standards required by such an event, and even exceeded them.

ROMPRES: You have also been congratuled on your success by a NATO official in charge with security system, who appreciated that it was the best NATO Summit ever to be organized. Did you have any security alarms during the Summit period?

VICTOR MICULA: No, no alarms were registered. The event was a political success because Romania has obtained a document which certifies its interests. This document is the result of a lot of work conducted by our negotiation teams, both here in Bucharest, and in Brussels,. We managed to organize such an important event, without blocking the airport activity or traffic in Bucharest, without ignoring the security measures. Our intention was not create the sensation of a ghost-city or of an event taking place behind the barbed wire.

All delegations said that, despite all security measures taken, they felt the town was alive, they could interact with people in Bucharest. Some officials had enough time to go out in the evening and to visit some places around their hotels, having the possibility to be in contact with people.

Unlike similar events, where the Summit participants were completely isolated by the rest of the town, here, in Bucharest, they had the chance to feel the life of this city, to see its people’s hospitality. They felt that Bucharest welcomed them warmly.

ROMPRES: Have you been informed about any risks during the Summit period?

VICTOR MICULA: No, there were some minor aspects that did not influence the Summit.

ROMPRES: For example, a bag forgottten somewhere?

VICTOR MICULA: No, not even a bag.

ROMPRES: There were some incidents with the anti - NATO demonstrators that caused some problems. Did you lay under an interdiction any anti - NATO meeting during the Summit period?

VICTOR MICULA: I do not know about any interdiction of this kind during the Summit period. But we must keep the proportions regarding this regrettable event. I consider that the Summit brought a lot of satsifaction to all people in Bucharest and we felt their support during this event. They used their personal cars less and went by means of transport. They also endured the effort to go on deviated routes and followed the policemen’s instructions. As a result, we appreciated that it was an isolated incident which cannot be considered as general, regarding the major event unfolding in Bucharest.

ROMPRES: Would such a meeting have prejudiced the Summit security system if it had been organized somewhere in the very centre of the town?

VICTOR MICULA: It is very obvious that this type of anti - NATO meetings did not have the support of the population in Bucharest, and this fact is extremely important. Romania, in general the public opinion, thinks favourably of the North - Atlantic Alliance. Let’s bear in mind that all different governements that succeeded to each other throught the pro - NATO campaign period, were highly supported by the Romanian population. That is why, here, in Bucharest, the most important obstacle for the anti - NATO demonstrators to overcome, was the lack of support from the public opinion.

ROMPRES: You participated both at the visit of President Bush and at the bilateral meeting with President Basescu. Logistically speaking, did you have to make considerable efforts to secure the meeting between President Bush and President Basescu at Neptun?

VICTOR MICULA: Of course, we made considerable efforts for this, but the issues approached and the atmosphere completely justified them. The bilateral component of President’s Bush presence in Romania was important and it proved that the Administration from Washington has a priviliged relationship with our country.

ROMPRES: Who chose the location in Neptun and why?

VICTOR MICULA: There is more than one person who can be considered as an initiator of this idea. I would say it was a very good idea, as we took into consideration the fact that all images broadcast from the Black Sea, Neptun, by the international press, had a special impact on Romania and on the entire Black Sea region.

ROMPRES: Could you at least mention the institutions which brought their contribution to initiating this idea?

VICTOR MICULA: There are many involved. I would not like to mention only some of them and to risk to forget the others, but I can underline that many people supported it. I can only welcome the initiative of holding this bilateral meeting on the Black Sea shore.

ROMPRES: How did you find President Bush and his wife?

VICTOR MICULA: They were very warm regarding Romania and as a result, this atmosphere characterized the attitude of the American delegation during their stay in Bucharest.

ROMPRES: Another important visit was the one of Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation. Could you tell us when you had his visit to Bucharest confirmed?

VICTOR MICULA: On 3rd of April, in the evening, not long before he landed at Bucharest. We have always considered it a possibility, but not a certainty. In the end, this high - level NATO Council - Russia reunion organized for the first time during a NATO Summit, was a real success.

ROMPRES: Why did they confirm it in the last minute and what do you think made him come at the Summit?

VICTOR MICULA: In my opinion, he wanted to highlight the fact that, although he does not embrace all the Alliance decisions, the NATO Council - Russia continues to be a dialogue forum on common topics between the countries of the North - Atlantic organizations and Russia.

ROMPRES: Was the bilaterall meeting Putin - Basescu organized ad - hoc?

VICTOR MICULA: This meeting was organized when President Putin’s visit was confirmed.

ROMPRES: On the first day of the Summit, there were lots of discussions on inviting Macedonia to join the NATO Alliance and, until the decision was taken, there were many speculations about the possiblity of an unexpected leaving of the Macedonian delegation. Were these warnings true?

VICTOR MICULA: No. It was a tension regarding the debates on inviting Macedonia to join the Alliance. We can understand this, but no. We were not officially informed about these intentions. We hoped all three state members of the Adriatic Chart would be invited to join NATO, here at Bucharest. This target was mostly achieved, as Croatia and Albania received the invitation to join the Alliance, and Macedonia received this offer, but after solving the name issue with Greece.

Regarding the Alliance’s attitude to the other three peace - keeping partner countries in the Western Balkans, Romania supported the salvgardation of the relationship between the North - Atlantic organization and the three states. Two of these states have already been invited to join the Alliance. NATO is also opened to Serbia, if Serbia utterly states its joining intentions. From our point of view, all our objectives have been reached in a proportion of 100%. Concerning the enlarged Black Sea region, at Bucharest, all NATO countries decided that Georgia and Ukraine would become NATO states in the near future. In December, the reform progress in both countries will be assessed. These two countries made a remarkable progress on their road to being integrated in the large West - European family.

Other major decisions have been taken on vital issues for Romania. One of them is the anti-missile shield. We have always wanted the decision on developing a complementary system with the American one, to be taken here, at Bucharest. And this decision is stipulated in the Bucharest Declaration. Concerning the energetic security, Romania pleaded for identifying a niche role for the North - Atlantic Alliance. The Bucharest Declaration clearly stipulates where the Alliance can have an added value to the energetic security issue. These are only some of the political objectives discussed by the Romanian negotiators both in Brussels and in Bucharest. We managed to achieve them in a proportion of 95%.

ROMPRES: Journalists have pointed out an interesting fact about Republic of Moldavia. Did you open a translation console for "the Moldavian language"?

VICTOR MICULA: No, we did not. There was an error, We had translation in the Romanian language only. That is all. All leaders who wanted to have a personal interpreter for headphone - translation, they could use these consoles for interpreters and their personal interpreters. We organized consoles only for English, French, Russian and Romanian translation. There were also some personal interpreters who translated for few of the leaders attending the Bucharest Summit.

ROMPRES: It is what happened in the case of Mr.Voronin?

VICTOR MICULA: Exactly. So, there was no translation in the Moldavian language, there was just an audio connection between the personal interpreter and President Voronin.

ROMPRES: Regarding the Republic of Moldavia, I saw that there is a recommendation in the final Statement of the Summit for Russia to fulfill its commitments regarding conventional forces ...

VICTOR MICULA: There are two issues here. When one approaches the topic of the Treaty regarding the limitation of conventional forces in Europe, it is underlined that, as far as the Alliance is concerned, the inter-connection between the ratification of the Treaty and the fulfillment of the commitments undertaken by the Russian Federation, is still valid. So, as long as Russia does not comply with its commitments undertaken in Istanbul, the North-Atlantic Alliance countries will not ratify the adapted Treaty on Conventional Forces. This condition stays valid and it is mentioned in the Bucharest Declaration. And secondly, we have again underlined the Alliance’s concern regarding the frozen conflicts that continue to affect some countries from the former Soviet Republic, among which, the Transnistria conflict.

ROMPRES: Regarding the Republic of Moldavia, do you forsee an intensified collaboration with the euro-atlantic structures?

VICTOR MICULA: My range here is too limited. In order to try to predict an intensified relationship between the Republic of Moldavia and the Western-European structures, we need an interlocutor who has access to a more global, more general picture.

ROMPRES: Personally, do you regard the organization of the NATO Summit as, how should we say, the biggest challange in your diplomatic career?

VICTOR MICULA: Yes, indeed, it was the biggest challange of my career, but maybe I should highlight the fact that they gave me more credit than they should have. I was part of a team of many young people who knew how to take the right decisions when needed, and at the same time, I was supported by 17 institutions from the Romanian public administration sector, and also by a team of experts from the Chamber of Deputies and the Senat.

ROMPRES: Can you tell us what lessons you have learned after organizing this Summit?

VICTOR MICULA: There are many lessons yet to be learned. I believe we need to allow us at least two weeks for, objectivelly analysing every single detail, for thinking what we could have done differently. Obviously, all the values are in the superlative and there is a trend of saying: ok, everything is perfect. But, also, we need to be objective and realise which are those things that developed much better than expected, and which are those areas we consider that perhaps, at a certain moment, could have benefited from more resources. This is an assessment I don’t have acces to at the moment, but I believe it to be very useful from the point of view of those who attended the organization of this event, as well as from the point of view of those who are to be confrunted with similar tasks or similar challanges.

ROMPRES: Thank you.