Joint press point
between NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the Prime Minister of Moldova, Pavel Filip
Prime Minister Filip, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome—the warmest welcome possible—to the opening of the brand new NATO Liaison Office here in Chisinau. This is a moment of great pride for the NATO Alliance, and a clear sign of the importance that we place on our relationship with Moldova.
Today is the culmination of almost 25 years of partnership between Moldova and NATO. The Liaison Office was built at the request of the Moldovan government to help drive our partnership, joining similar Liaison Offices in Kiev, Tbilisi, and Moscow.
Kristina Baleisyte, the head of the Office, has done an incredible job. All year long, she has been actively building on our partnership while also overseeing the construction and completing of this office space. So thank you, Kristina, to you and your staff here in Chisinau.
Many people think that NATO is a military organisation. But that is too limited a view. NATO is a political-military organisation, and the political dimension of it is very important. This office will be staffed by civilians and will help support dialogue and cooperation between NATO and Moldova. There will be no military staff, and as you can see, this is certainly not a military base.
The Office will facilitate our dialogue and provide advice, assistance and support to ongoing programmes, especially in the area of defence capacity building. These programmes are all requested by the Moldovan government. It will also increase transparency about what NATO is and what NATO does here in Moldova. I hope that this will greatly increase the public’s understanding of our partnership.
Our partnership focussed on improving the lives of the Moldovan people. We do not provide military equipment or arms; we share our expertise in a wide range of areas. Here in Moldova, these include:
- The destruction of land mines and hazardous chemicals, including banned pesticides.
- The development of advanced telemedicine so that responders can get the best advice during emergency situations.
- Improving Moldova’s expertise and defences against cyber-attack.
- And helping to improve governance, combat corruption, and boost the role of women in peace and security.
All these help to make Moldova a safer, more secure place.
NATO fully respects Moldova’s neutrality, independence and sovereignty. NATO works with many neutral countries, including with Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as with countries with close relations with Russia, such as Armenia.
Neutrality does not mean that we cannot be strong partners. Moldova makes an active contribution to NATO’s presence in Kosovo, and I thank you very much, Prime Minister, for that excellent contribution. We have been impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the Moldovan armed forces, as well as the civilian members of the Ministry of Defence, who support us in KFOR.
Prime Minister, we welcome the progress 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 will attract investment.
We understand and respect the fact that Moldova does not want to join the NATO Alliance. Decisions about your own security arrangements are yours alone to make. We respect that entirely.
The partnership we have benefits NATO, and it benefits Moldova. We thank you once again, and with the support of this new NATO Liaison Office I very much look forward to continuing the close and fruitful work between Moldova and NATO.
Thank you very much.