Senior U.S. Diplomatic and Defense Officials Convene in Bucharest to Discuss Black Sea Region

January 24, 2024

The United States Embassy in Bucharest and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) hosted senior U.S. policymakers in Bucharest, Romania, January 22-23, to discuss U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic efforts, and security interests in the Black Sea Region.

Senior U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and ambassadors engaged on critical security topics including Russia’s war against Ukraine, increased maritime mobility in the Black Sea Region, and regional plans for deterrence and defense.

“The Black Sea is crucial for global peace and stability, and its importance is only expected to increase in the coming years,” U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec said. “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 cautioned. “Such an attack on the international order anywhere affects peace and stability everywhere including 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 Department of State policymakers, U.S. ambassadors to countries in the Black Sea region, and EUCOM leadership to discuss strategies to support to U.S. allies and partners in the region. Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luminita Odobescu and Minister of Defense Angel Tilvar joined the group for an informative briefing and productive discussion. 

Attendees included U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien, Commander of U.S. European Command Commander General Christopher Cavoli, Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, Ambassador to Georgia Robin Dunnigan, Ambassador to Turkey Jeffrey Flake, Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec, 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.