18 Oct 2018 19:19

Moldova determined to cooperate with NATO even despite neutrality status imposed on it - PM

CHISINAU. Oct 18 (Interfax) - Moldova is seeking to maintain and develop cooperation with NATO, even though its constitution stipulates neutrality, Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip said.

"Neutrality stipulated by the Moldovan constitution doesn't mean that we want to be an isolated country. On the contrary, we favor close cooperation with NATO, we want to teach and train our military together and be involved in joint exercises," the government press service quoted Filip as saying at a meeting with a delegation of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly led by its new President Rasa Jukneviciene.

"Neutrality was not Moldova's independent choice," he said.

"Neutrality was imposed [on Moldova] as a result of Russian troops' intervention in the conflict on the Dniester River. Unfortunately, these armed units have still not left the Republic of Moldova's territory, despite our country's and the international community's calls and despite the obligations that the Russian Federation has undertaken," he said.

Filip and Jukneviciene discussed ways to improve Moldova's security and defense capability in the context of challenges existing in the region.

Jukneviciene said the NATO PA can provide Moldova with the expertise and experience in opposing new risks and regional challenges, "including those related to the Russian Federation's interference."

"NATO is not an alliance for war. NATO is an alliance for peace, an alliance for democracy," Jukneviciene said.

Filip spoke in support of this position, citing as an example numerous NATO projects in Moldova, including that on destroying pesticides whose shelf life expired.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is an inter-parliamentary organization comprising delegates from 29 NATO member states and 12 partner countries. Moldova has been an associated member of the NATO PA since November 1994.