NATO’s relations with the Republic of Moldova
NATO and the Republic of Moldova actively cooperate on democratic, institutional and defence reforms, and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas. The country’s Individual Partnership Action Plan lays out its programme of cooperation with NATO and, since early March 2014, Moldova has been contributing troops to the NATO-led mission in Kosovo – KFOR.
Moldova is constitutionally neutral and is seeking to draw closer to Euro-Atlantic standards and institutions, the ultimate aim being European integration. The extent of NATO-Moldova cooperation depends on the country’s willingness to continue its democratic reform process and strengthen its existing democratic institutions.
Areas of cooperation, reform plans and political dialogue processes are detailed in the Republic of Moldova’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is jointly agreed with NATO for a two-year period. A revised IPAP is currently being developed for 2014-2015. Key areas of cooperation include support to wide-ranging reforms, assistance to the preparation of strategic documents, defence planning and budgeting and enhancing military education and training in Moldova.
Beyond supporting reform, another key objective of NATO’s cooperation with Moldova is to develop the ability of the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion’s forces to work together with forces from other countries, especially in crisis-management and peacekeeping operations. Since 8 March 2014, for instance, two “combat-ready” units from this battalion have been participating in KFOR. Moldova is also seeking to develop a new training programme for the armed forces and has been taking part in multinational exercises organised by NATO.
Through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), Moldova’s cooperation with NATO has mushroomed into other areas such as cyber defence, building integrity and accountability in the defence and security sectors, science, disaster response and the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security.
Through regular participation in PfP training exercises, Moldova has taken steps to bring elements of its forces closer to full interoperability with Allied forces. Moldova has declared a range of units available for PfP activities, on a case-by-case basis. Four Moldovan helicopters currently support the UN mission in Afghanistan.
Moldova contributes to the fight against terrorism through cooperation with the Allies on enhancing national counter-terrorist training capabilities and improving border and infrastructure security.
Work on enhancing military education and training in Moldova is focused on the Military Academy and its Continuous Training Centre – an accredited Partnership Training and Education Centre – both of which are working closely with NATO experts. One of the programmes in which Moldova has engaged is NATO’s Defence Education Enhancement Programme or DEEP. Through DEEPs, the Alliance advises partners on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the security, defence and military domain.
NATO has no direct role in the conflict resolution process in the region of Transnistria. However, NATO closely follows developments in the region. The current NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has also previously stated that the Alliance fully expects Russia to abide by its international obligations, including respecting the territorial integrity and political freedom of neighbouring countries.
Defence and security sector reform
Defence and security sector reforms are core areas of cooperation. NATO and individual Allies have considerable expertise, which Moldova can draw upon in this area. NATO supports the wider democratic, institutional and judicial reform process underway in Moldova.
In consultation with NATO, Moldova has developed strategic documents on defence and security sector reform. These documents were necessary to conduct a Strategic Defence Review. Consultations were also conducted on the steps needed for establishing a transparent defence planning and budgeting system.
NATO and individual Allies continue to assist Moldova in creating modern, mobile, high-readiness, well-equipped and cost-effective forces that are interoperable with those of other countries. Moldovan participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) since 1997 is instrumental in this process. Key reform projects include improving command and control structures, military logistics, personnel management, training and strengthening Moldova’s border patrol capabilities.
Moldova has agreed to train and develop designated units to achieve full interoperability with NATO and other partner forces. These units could be made available for NATO peace-support operations, as was the case in March 2014 with the deployment of a total of 41 Moldovan troops to Kosovo, comprising an Infantry Manoeuvre Platoon, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team and a meteorological specialist. The Operational Capabilities Concept supports this process.
Civil emergency planning
For Moldova, civil emergency planning is a priority area for cooperation with the Allies. Through participation in activities organised by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), Moldova is developing its national civil emergency and disaster-management capabilities. In consultation with the Allies, the country is also working on enhancing the legal framework for coping with such emergencies, and working to establish a civil crisis information system to coordinate activities in the event of an emergency. In late August 2011, Moldova hosted the EADRCC exercise Codrii 2011.
Science and environment
Under the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, Moldova has received grant awards for about 18 cooperative projects. Projects include seismic risk reduction studies and river monitoring activities.
In particular, Moldova aims to increase scientific cooperation in several key areas, including research into counter-terrorism and defending against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and ecological terrorism, the removal of dangerous chemicals, and reducing the risk and impact of environmental radiological contamination.
Other projects include a landslide susceptibility assessment in central Moldova and identifying buildings vulnerable to seismic activity in the Vrancea zone through the analysis of strong earthquakes that have occurred in the area. In total, scientists and experts from Moldova have had leading roles in 65 activities.
In 2009, Moldova hosted an advanced training course on cyber terrorism organised by the NATO Centre of Excellence for Defence against Terrorism. During the five-day programme, which was held within the framework of the Science for Peace Programme, participants learned how to identify and assess cyber threats, as well as ways to counter cyber terrorism. This has been followed by similar activities, the most recent was a training course set up in January 2014 for public sector network/system administrators, within the framework of the SPS Programme. The aim of the course was to improve the resilience of Moldova’s IT structure.
Over a number of years, a NATO/Partnership Trust Fund project (in cooperation with the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility) has helped to ensure the identification, analysis, repackaging and safe storage of over 3,200 tonnes of dangerous chemicals and pesticides. The third and final phase of the Trust Fund project, the destruction of the repackaged substances is now well advanced.
Moldova and NATO aim to improve public awareness of and access to information on NATO and the benefits of NATO-Moldova cooperation. With the support of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, an Information and Documentation Centre on NATO was inaugurated at the Chisinau State University in October 2007. NATO also supports Moldova in improving the training of public information specialists within the country’s armed forces.
In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Moldova is the embassy of Bulgaria.
Moldova joins the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997.
Moldova joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP).
Moldova joins the PfP Planning and Review Process.
A Moldovan platoon participates in a civil emergency relief exercise in Russia with Allies and partner countries.
Moldova hosts a PfP Civil Protection Committee plenary meeting in September.
President Voronin visits NATO Headquarters in June.
Moldova agrees its first Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO.
Moldova hosts the PfP training exercises Cooperative Longbow and Cooperative Lancer.
President Voronin visits NATO Headquarters in June.
An IPAP assessment identifies areas of progress and issues to be addressed.
President Voronin visits NATO Headquarters in December.
Moldova hosts the ‘South Caucasus and Moldova Clearing House’ event, which coordinates Allied and partner assistance programmes.
The NATO Secretary General, while visiting Moldova, gives a speech at Chisinau State University, visits the Information and Documentation Centre on NATO, and holds talks with President Voronin, the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister.
Prime Minister Vlad Filat and Foreign Minister Iurie Leanca visit NATO.
Moldova hosts an international workshop in Chisinau which focuses on ways to improve the cooperation between public authorities, the media and civil society in combating terrorism.
Iurie Leanca, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, and Minister of Defence Vitalie Marinuta meet NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and address the North Atlantic Council.
A new IPAP was agreed with Moldova on 20 August 2010. Allies also agreed a subsequent request from Chisinau that the document be declassified, allowing the Moldovan authorities to release it to the public.
Moldova hosts the annual EAPC/APAG meeting in June.
The Minister of Defence, Vitalie Marinuta, and the Deputy Foreign Minister, Andrei Popov, meet the Secretary General and address the North Atlantic Council in July.
Moldova hosts the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) exercise Codrii 2011 in August.
Prime Minister Filat of Moldova visits NATO Headquarters and meets the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council.
A NATO Science for Peace and Security information day is held in Chisinau (June) to explore additional areas of cooperation.
In July, a NATO week is held, coinciding with the launch of Phase III of the Trust Fund on the destruction of pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.
On 10 February, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Mrs Natalia Gherman, meets the Secretary General.
On 17 March, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Valeriu Chiveri, meets the Deputy Secretary General to discuss ways of bolstering ties with NATO.