Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Moldova, Pavel Filip
Prime Minister Pavel Filip, welcome back to NATO headquarters. It’s great to see you again and great to once again meet with you here at NATO.
I think that your visit to NATO headquarters is a sign of the strong partnership which we have developed between NATO and Moldova over the years.
Your country is clearly committed to peace and stability in Europe and I want to thank Moldova for contributing to NATO’s presence in Kosovo helping to stabilise that part of Europe.
NATO and Moldova have been partners for twenty-five years and we remain committed to Moldova’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.
We also fully respect Moldova’s neutrality.
NATO cooperates closely with many neutral countries, including countries like, for instance, Switzerland and Austria.
Such partnerships are of mutual benefit both for Moldova and for NATO.
Today we discussed how NATO and Moldova can build on our achievements together.
NATO is helping your armed forces become more effective and capable.
Allies recently agreed a project to support Moldova in countering cyber threats.
And NATO has helped fund the destruction of dangerous pesticides, land mines and surplus munitions.
All these help to make Moldova safer and more secure.
Today, I am pleased to announce another step forward in our partnership.
Early next month, Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller will inaugurate the NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau.
The head of the office, she has already been in Moldova for some time; she has already been very active.
Over the next month we will inaugurate that office.It has been established at the request of the Moldovan government and it is similar to our offices in Moscow, Kyiv and Tbilisi.
It will be staffed with civilians and will help support dialogue and cooperation between NATO and Moldova.
The office shows the value that both NATO and Moldova attach to our partnership.We welcome the progress on reforms you have made so far and we encourage your government to continue its democratic reforms: fighting corruption, strengthening the judiciary and making sure your country can attract investment.
Prime Minister, we understand and respect that Moldova does not want to join NATO.
It is up to your country - and your country alone - to choose your own security arrangements.
But we also welcome your willingness to continue with our valuable cooperation.
NATO supports a stable, secure, and neutral Moldova.
So therefore, we very much welcome that we have this strong partnership and we look forward to continuing our successful cooperation.
Thank you. So once again, very much welcome to NATO and to our headquarters.
Moderator: We have time for one or two questions if anybody… Please put up your hand and introduce yourself. Lady over there.
Q: I have a question for both officials. Could you tell us please, recently in the Republic of Moldova was appointed a minister of defence that wants to collaborate with NATO, and soon the NATO liaison office will open in Moldova. How do you think these things will influence the relations between NATO and the Republic of Moldova?
Pavel Filip (Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova): It is true. In the Republic of Moldova, recently a minister of defence was appointed, who is with me in this delegation, in this visit, Mr. Eugen Sturza. I just want to mention that not only the minister of defence pleads for more profound cooperation with the alliance; this was said also by myself as Prime Minister during my first visit here to NATO, but also even before coming to NATO.
The Republic of Moldova, even though it is a neutral state according to its constitution, wants very good cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance because we want to have a developed army, because we want to be a country, a state, with a well-developed army that can ensure the security of our nation. In this sense, I don’t think there is any other better way, how to learn from NATO.
And I mentioned several times, and for those who are sceptical and who critique this cooperation with NATO, they should not forget that neutrality does not mean isolation. The Republic of Moldova is an open country, and it’s open for cooperation, and Moldova wants to have a good development in all fields, whether we are talking about an economic field, or a social field – exactly the same development in the defence sector. And on this occasion I would like to thank once again for the support that permanently was given by the Alliance to the Republic of Moldova.
Jens Stoltenberg (Secretary General of NATO): I can just concur with what the Prime Minister just said. I welcome very much the fact that Moldova has recently appointed a new Prime Minister, a new Defence Minister, who is strongly in favour of strengthening the cooperation and the partnership with NATO. I met the new Defence Minister in the meeting we just had and I said that I congratulated him and I look forward to working together with him when it comes to strengthening the partnership between Moldova and NATO.
NATO totally respects the neutrality of Moldova. Moldova is a sovereign nation, Moldova is a nation that makes its own decisions, and we respect those decisions.
For NATO it is a fundamental principle that we respect those nations who want to join NATO, then we sit down and discuss possible membership with them. But we also respect those nations that decide not to join NATO. And Moldova has clearly stated that Moldova doesn’t want to join NATO, and that’s something we absolutely respect.
It is important to remember that NATO has many good partners, close partners of NATO, which are not seeking membership in NATO. That’s the case for countries like Sweden, Finland, Austria and Switzerland. They are close partners—we work closely together with them—but they are not seeking membership. So it’s absolutely possible to be a close partner of NATO and at the same time not wanting membership in NATO. And that’s exactly what Moldova is doing, as several other European countries.
We think that the partnership is important for NATO, but it is also important for Moldova. We help Moldova with reforms, with modernising its armed forces, including fighting corruption and also with practical efforts like, for instance, strengthening your cyber defence capabilities and also destroying land mines, surplus ammunition and dangerous pesticides. So we have a very practical cooperation, but we also have a very strong and high-level political dialogue, and that’s important for NATO and for Moldova.