BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's president says his country and Bulgaria support an increased presence of NATO in southeast Europe.

NATO decided this month to set up command-and-control centers in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria in response to challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists.

In an emergency the centers will help speed the arrival of the new quick-reaction force as well as later NATO reinforcements.

"We want an increased NATO presence...so NATO members can strengthen the reaction of the alliance," Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said Friday. He and Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said they supported sanctions against Russia.

Plevneliev said a gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece would be launched in 2018, financed by the European Commission. He said Bulgaria had signed a contract to get Azeri gas by 2019.