Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Pavel Filip
It is a pleasure to welcome you again at NATO Headquarters. And I was very helpful how we addressed several issues addressing how we developed further the partnership between Moldova and NATO.
The Republic of Moldova is a close partner to NATO.
I thank you for your different contributions especially that you contribute to our KFOR mission in Kosovo.
It shows that your country is a responsible contributor to international security.
We are committed to Moldova’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.
And we fully respect Moldova’s constitutional neutrality.
But neutrality does not mean isolation.
We cooperate closely with other partners that are neutral countries – such as Switzerland and Austria.
NATO and Moldova have jointly agreed a framework for working together.
And all our cooperation activities have been requested by the government of Moldova.
Many of our programmes benefit ordinary Moldovan people. We have helped destroy dangerous pesticides, anti-personnel mines, surplus munitions and dangerous rocket fuel.
We are helping Moldova with cyber defence training. And every year we welcome Moldovan students at NATO courses on issues such as logistics and border security. So these are examples of practical cooperation, where NATO helped, educated and trained Moldovan students personal, which I think will be a benefit for Moldova and for NATO. Because when our NATO is stable, we are more secure.
Our partnership also supports Moldova in undertaking reforms to build good governance and strong institutions. Including the effort to fight corruption.
We are now working on a Defence Capacity Building programme to help the Moldovan armed forces become more effective.
As requested by the Moldovan government, we will soon open a NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau.
It will be a small diplomatic mission with only civilian staff.
Just like in other partner countries like Georgia, our Liaison Office will facilitate our support for Moldova’s ongoing reforms.
So Prime Minister,
I once again welcome you. It is a great pleasure to meet with you again and I welcome that we are in the process of strengthening and developing the partnership Moldova and NATO. Welcome once again.
OANA LUNGESCU (NATO Spokesperson): Moldovan State TV.
Q: [Inaudible] TV Moldova One. My question is for Mr. Stoltenberg. How difficult is it to have efficient dialogue with State of Moldova when the different leaders promoting very different messages? And the one question is for Mr. Filip, [speaking with translator] and now the question for Mr. Filip, at what stage actually is the opening of the NATO Liaison Office and what will be the priorities of Moldovan Government regarding this cooperation? Because the experience of Ukraine and Georgia show that the NATO Liaison Office is based on the necessity of the hosting country. Thank you.
JENS STOLTENBERG (NATO Secretary General): NATO is an alliance of 28 democracies so we are very used to that there are different views, different opinions also within the political system. So that’s nothing new. What we do is that we relate to governments, to parliaments, to those who are responsible for taking decisions and all our efforts, all our projects when it comes to our partnership with Moldova is based on requests from Moldova, from the Moldovan Government supported by the Moldovan Parliament. But of course NATO will never enforce any activities or any programs upon a country which don’t want it. It’s absolutely voluntary partnership, we respect the limitations and of course we totally respect the neutrality of Moldova. Some of our closest partners are neutral countries. Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Sweden are neutral countries but we have an extensive and strong partnership with them. And therefore we think it’s absolutely possible to further strengthen our partnership with Moldova, totally fully respecting the neutrality of Moldova and actually the neutrality of Moldova is explicitly mentioned in the document that forms the basis for our partnership. So there is absolutely no contradiction between being a neutral country as the Republic of Moldova is and at the same time working with NATO. And we have to remember also that a NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau is a civilian, small civilian diplomatic office, we have that kind of offices in other countries including in Russia actually, in Moscow. So this is not a military base, this is a small civilian office, which then can help to facilitate our practical partnership.
PAVEL FILIP (Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova): [Speaking with translator]. I think that there is still this mentality, Soviet mentality, which is still present in a part of Moldova that NATO represents just a big military base and everything is related to army and munitions and heavy military. Let’s not forget that we live in the 21st century informational era. We talked today about a creation of a centre to, reaction to cyber-attacks. We talked today about creation of such a lab to ensure or reaction to ensure cyber security. So these things have to be seen in a broad manner. Our cooperation with NATO is, and I think is normal, to want to learn from those who have the necessary expertise. Republic of Moldova wants to be a modern state and if we talk about the national army we want to have an army that is well trained. Regarding the opening of the liaison office, NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau, we did everything necessary so everything is coming along fine and as I mentioned I hope very much that this summer this liaison office will be a functional one. Another very important thing concerning communication, I’d like to mention that if we will talk directly, and we will, to the people and will not come with scary arguments then people will understand what NATO means and through the liaison office in Moldova I hope we will complete this goals.
Q: [Inaudible] for Europe. Question for NATO Secretary General. What do you expect from today’s NRC? Do you hope that we could get some progress when it comes for example to risk reduction? And for Mr. Filip, are you worried about reports that Mr. Dodon wants to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Eurasian Economic Union? Do you think that this will harm your relationship with the European Union, that this will jeopardise for example the association agreement and the trust that your western partners such as NATO you have in Moldova?
JENS STOLTENBERG: We will have a meeting of the NATO Russia Council later on today. I welcome the fact that we were able to convene the three meetings last year and now we will have the first meeting this year and we will discuss, address different issues of common concern, like the crisis in and around Ukraine, Afghanistan including the regional terrorist threat. And we will also then discuss military activities, transparency and risk reduction. And I’m looking forward to the meeting because we are going to have reciprocal briefings on our military posture on the three new divisions in the western military district of Russia. But also on the four battle groups that NATO is going to deploy in the Baltic countries, or we are in the process of deploying in the Baltic countries and Poland. And for me this is an important step towards more predictability, more transparency which is especially needed now when we have increased military activity along our borders. I hope that this can be further strengthened with more briefings, more, more reciprocal briefings on exercises, on military activities and also a good platform for discussing how we can move on when it comes to strengthening our military lines of communications and mechanisms for risk reduction. But what will happen today is that at least we’ll have a reciprocal briefing on military posture both from the Russian side and from the NATO side.
PAVEL FILIP: [Speaking with translator]. Regarding this memorandum with Eurasian economic community I have to mention that we have a very firm position in this regard. It was already transmitted to Mr. President Dodon, more than that I passed to him a documented opinion elaborated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that this agreement does not have any juridical power, it cannot and I will tell you why. Fortunately the Republic of Moldova has a parliamentary regime, according to its constitution the parliament is a representative body, supreme body in the country that approves the internal and external policies. It is true that according to the constitution the President, who is not the owner of the state, he has the right to negotiate and to sign international treaties. But according to the, according to the law on international treaties, and this law supposes that any document, a memorandum or international treaty, in order to have juridical effect, has to be ratified by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. Of course the President, when he signs international treaties is not obliged to represent the full powers. But this does not mean that representing the state he can impose his own opinion or his own vision. He is obligated to consult and to present for ratification in front of the Moldovan Parliament. That is why this memorandum, even if it will be signed, I will declare once again and also the Speaker of Moldovan Parliament will declare that this is a, a zero sum document, doesn’t have any juridical power. That is why the President has to be sincere in relation to those who sign this memorandum and to tell them that this document does not have a juridical power.
OANA LUNGESCU: This concludes this press point. Thank you.