by the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer in his joint press conference with Brigadier General Eduard Ohladciuc, Chief of National Army General Staff, Commander of the National Army, Republic of Moldova
Thank you, Brigadier General Eduard Ohladciuc.
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Bună ziua
It is a pleasure to be here today.
Thank you, Brigadier General, for inviting me to your beautiful country.
And for giving me the opportunity be the first ever Chair of the NATO Military Committee to visit the Republic of Moldova, a close NATO partner.
I am honoured.
My visit builds on more than 30 years of cooperation between the NATO Alliance and the Republic of Moldova.
As you just mentioned, Brigadier General, we have worked together in many ways.
For instance, NATO has helped Moldova improve cyber defences, enhance good governance in your Armed Forces and destroy hazardous pesticides.
And since 2014, Moldova has deployed troops to NATO's peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, to actively promote to maintain a safe and secure environment for the people there.
Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has given new impetus to the partnership between NATO and Moldova.
This war has fundamentally changed the global security environment.
And has impacted Moldova severely.
Therefore, at the Summit in Madrid last year, NATO Allies decided to strengthen their partnership with nations who are exposed to Russian threats, pressures and malign influence.
As your President recently stated, Moldova - like other European countries - is paying a huge price for this senseless war.
Therefore, tailored, demand-driven support for Moldova is high on our joint agenda – and will remain so for as long as Moldova needs it, to the extent that it needs it.
We are now taking concrete steps towards greater political and practical support for the Republic of Moldova.
To support your resilience and political independence.
NATO fully respects Moldova's constitutional neutrality.
Respect for sovereign decisions are at the heart of everything that NATO does.
And we show it in the relationships with our partners.
It is the basis for our support to Ukraine.
Russia's war was never about any real security threat coming from either Ukraine, or even NATO.
We are not at war with Russia, nor do we want to be.
This is about Russia fearing something much more powerful than any physical weapon: freedom… democracy…. the rule of law… and the right for each sovereign nation to determine its own destiny.
Moldova rightly and firmly believes in these principles.
NATO commends and supports you for fighting for what you believe in.
For who you are as a nation.
The State Coat of Arms of the Republic of Moldova printed right at the centre of your State Flag could not be more eloquent.
It signals unity.
It speaks directly to the connection between armed forces and society as a whole – the quintessence of resilience.
Your resilience in "surging from the depths like the brave men of the legends" … in the words of your national anthem.
Moldova stands firm in its commitment to relentlessly work for a better future.
And NATO stands ready to step up our practical support, through the enhanced Defence Capacity Building package, to improve Moldova's defence and security capabilities.
This package contributes to Moldova's capacity to defend itself.
The launch of the Professional Development Programme for Moldovan civil servants and institutions in the security and defence sector, this February, is the latest example of this.
And we are also proud to be working with you on the development of the Non Commissioned Officer and Enlisted Corps.
However, the responsibility for freedom and security does not lie on the shoulders of those in uniform alone.
Successfully facing the current security challenges and strengthening resilience, requires a whole of government and whole of society approach.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
NATO fully respects Moldova's right to choose its own path.
To make its own sovereign choices.
To determine its own future.
These are fundamental rights that deserve universal respect.
NATO is proud to be Moldova's partner.
And I look forward to getting to know your country better in the upcoming days.
Thank you, Brigadier General.
For your leadership.
For your warm hospitality.
And for the Republic of Moldova's longstanding partnership with NATO.