Moldova balks at idea of closer NATO ties

Moldovan President Igor Dodon said the opening of a NATO office in Chişinău was "a provocation" set up by the previous government. [NATO]

Pro-Russian President of Moldova Igor Dodon yesterday (7 February) warned NATO that the closer ties it seeks with his strategically placed country could undermine its neutrality and threaten its security.

Dodon, who went to Moscow on his first foreign visit after the election late last year, has repeatedly said he wants to restore political and economic relations with Moldova’s Soviet-era master, reversing the closer NATO and European Union links championed by his predecessors.

Speaking after talks with NATO deputy head Rose Gottermoeller, he insisted that a planned alliance liaison office in the capital Chisinau would be of no benefit to the majority of Moldovans.

“For me, the opening of such an office is not helpful for the security of the people; it is a provocation set up by the previous government,” he told reporters standing alongside Gottermoeller at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Moldovan president-elect opposes planned NATO office

Moldova’s President-elect, Socialist Igor Dodon, has reiterated his opposition to plans to open a NATO Liaison Office in the country’s capital of Chișinău, according to Moldovan media. EURACTIV Romania reports.

Gottermoeller stressed that the liaison office was similar to those set up in other countries, such as Russia or Ukraine, and was staffed only by civilian, not military personnel.

“It will increase transparency about what NATO does with Moldova,” she said, describing the talks with Dodon as “intensive positive discussions”.

The US-led alliance fully understood Moldova’s desire for neutrality and respected all nations’ right to decide their own security arrangements, she said.

EU denies Russia say in Moldova Association Agreement

The European Union has quashed the suggestion that Russia could be involved in a trilateral review of Moldova’s Association Agreement with the bloc, which its president called into question last week during a visit to Moscow.

“Moldova does not want to join NATO,” she noted, but added that neutrality did not mean isolation and the two parties had worked together in the past and she hoped would do so in the future.

Tiny Moldova is wedged between Ukraine and Romania and has an East-West cultural and linguistic split, similar to Ukraine.

A brief civil war in the 1990s ended with the Russian-speaking Transnistria region breaking away and declaring independence, backed by Moscow, which now stations troops there.

Asked about the continued presence of Russian soldiers, Dodon said that issue would be resolved at the same time as the Transnistria conflict.

Western Mediterranean countries plead for increased NATO presence

Defence ministers from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain have called on NATO to increase its presence in their part of the world. Euractiv Spain reports.

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