17 Jan 2018 18:07

Moldovan President Dodon agrees to interview with Russian TV host Zeinalova

CHISINAU. Jan 17 (Interfax) - Moldovan President Igor Dodon has promised to give an interview to Irada Zeinalova, a Russian journalist from the television channel NTV, who was denied entry to Moldova on Tuesday.

"I talked to her on the telephone this morning. We've agreed that Irada Zeinalova will come at my personal official invitation within the next few days, and I will give her an interview. The very fact that a Russian journalist was not admitted to Moldova fits the agenda of the current parliamentary majority. This is not the first such instance," Dodon told journalists on Wednesday.

Dodon said he was perplexed by this decision, as Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip had declared his desire to normalize relations with Russia in early January. "Such steps clearly won't help resume full-fledged dialogue and cooperation with our strategic partner, the Russian Federation," Dodon said.

The Moldovan Border Police said earlier that Zeinalova had been denied entry to Moldova for being unable to explain the purpose of her visit.

The incident happened at the Chisinau International Airport on Tuesday evening. Zeinalova, the host of NTV's Itogi Nedeli (Summary of the Week), had arrived in Chisinau from Istanbul.

"Russian citizen Irada Zeinalova was barred from entering Moldova, as she could not confirm the purpose of her visit to the republic. She had arrived in Chisinau from Istanbul. The woman said at border control that she had appointments for meetings with officials but could not provide documents confirming this. It was decided to bar her from entering the country, and she was sent to Moscow on the next flight on Tuesday evening," the border service said.

This is not a long-term entry ban or a deportation, it said.

NTV said that it was confused and surprised by the Moldovan border authorities' decision.

"We are sincerely surprised. During the three hours that the NTV film crew spent at the airport, border-police officials had several conversations with representatives of those very officials," NTV said on Telegram.

However, the Moldovan Border Police still insisted that Zeinalova could not be admitted to the country since she could not provide documents confirming her planned meetings with Moldovan officials.