BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) – Romania’s defense minister, Vasile Dincu, resigned on Monday, citing difficulties in working with the country’s president, who is also the head of the NATO country’s armed forces.
Dincu’s resignation comes a week after he sparked controversy by suggesting Ukraine’s only chance for peace would be in negotiations with Russia, contrary to Romania’s official stance.
Dincu, a member of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) who has held the post in the coalition government for nearly a year, said on Facebook that he was sending his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
Romania, a member of the European Union and NATO bordering war-torn Ukraine, has become an increasingly important Western ally since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, hosting multinational battlegroups and air defense systems for the 30-nation security alliance.
Dincu explained that his decision to step down was necessary so as not to hinder decision-making in military programs and “not to block a number of projects that are absolutely necessary for optimal function” at the Ministry of Defense and the military.
No interim minister or successor has yet been announced.
PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu said on Monday that he has asked incumbent Prime Minister Ciuca, a former defense minister, to act as an interim “because Romania is obliged to ensure stability on NATO’s eastern flank.”
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