Joint press point
by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Iurie Leancă, Prime Minister of Moldova
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: Prime Minister, it is a pleasure to welcome you today. Moldova is a valued partner for NATO. And your presence here on your first foreign trip is a strong sign of your commitment to our partnership.
Let me congratulate you on your election. I wish you and your government success in your work. To take forward the ambitious reforms that are necessary to guarantee a better future for your people. And I welcome the progress you are making in your efforts to move closer to the European Union. NATO and the European Union share a common interest in your pursuit of reforms.
We have just discussed many issues of common interest, including how we can assist you in your efforts to reform the security sector. We are already working together on defence education and on building integrity. And we stand ready to do more.
Over the last year, we have stepped up both our political dialogue and our practical cooperation.
We agree that we should make the most of the Individual Partnership Action Plan between NATO and Moldova and develop it further. We are grateful for Moldova’s offer to contribute to our KFOR operation in Kosovo under a United Nations mandate. And we are looking forward to look into more areas where we can work together.
We understand and respect the importance of Moldova’s constitutional neutrality. NATO has excellent relations with many neutral countries. So there is absolutely no contradiction between your neutrality and our partnership.
Allies continue to support your independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. NATO is not involved in the Transnistria settlement process but we follow developments closely and I commend you for your commitment to a peaceful resolution.
So Prime Minister, thank you very much for our discussion and I look forward to working with you in the future to deepen the partnership between NATO and Moldova.
Iurie Leancă (Prime Minister of Moldova): Mr. Secretary General, I'm very thankful for having this chance to exchange our views on the level of cooperation between Moldova and NATO on how we could better consolidate this partnership to the benefit of Moldova, to the benefit of the regional security.
We had very productive meetings today and I would like to thank you for the opinions and for the readiness to support Moldovan authorities in promoting the reforms in the defence sector, the reforms in the security sector. We attach great importance to the deepening of relations between Moldova and the North Atlantic organization. This, as you mentioned rightly, does not contradict the status of neutrality which is stipulated in the constitution of my country, and as you rightly also mentioned the Alliance has an extensive experience in cooperating with neutral and non-aligned countries that could be useful for Moldova as well.
We have many positive examples in our cooperation and a good example of this NATO dimension can be seen in the projects implemented by the Alliance in Moldova in the area of science, destruction of pesticides and other toxic substances. We continue support in the reform of all law enforcement agencies, which is a key objective of the government of the Republic of Moldova.
I avail myself of this opportunity to express my gratitude on the occasion to all governments which found the possibility to contribute to the trust fund of this project that is vital for my country.
Finally, I also would like to address my sincere thanks to North Atlantic Council for accepting the offer of the Republic of Moldova to become a contributing country to the KFOR operation. This will be a new experience for Moldova that will transform it from a consumer to a provider of security.
And of course, we are looking very much forward to our increased cooperation and we are convinced that your visit to Moldova, and during our discussions I reiterated the invitation, so your visit to Moldova will be a very important milestone in contributing to the deepening and strengthening your power and cooperation. Thank you.
Oana Lungescu (NATO Spokesperson): Well go to questions. Reuters.
Q: Adrian Croft from Reuters. A question for the Secretary General, please. I'd like to ask you about the White House announcement last night that the U.S. has concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the rebels, and that Washington will supply direct military assistance to the opposition. Can I ask you your reaction to this, and what does it mean for NATO? Is a no-fly zone in Syria back on the agenda? And will NATO be holding any meetings to consider how to respond?
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (NATO Secretary General): This is, indeed, a matter of great concern. The international community has made clear that any use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law. I welcome the clear U.S. statement. It is urgent that the Syrian regime should grant access to the United Nations to investigate all the reports of chemical weapons used.
As for NATO, the Patriot deployment will ensure effective protection of Turkey against any missile attack, whether the missiles carry chemical weapons or not. As for a solution to this problem, I still believe that the right way forward is a political solution. In that respect I welcome the joint American-Russian initiative to call an international conference and I urge all parties involved, the government and the opposition in Syria to attend that conference, and hopefully pave the way for a long-term sustainable political solution. And urge all parties to stop the bloodshed immediately.
Oana Lungescu: I don't see any other questions. Thank you very much. Have a good day.