12 Sep 2017 16:19

Moldovan govt determined to have president's ban on participation in exercises abroad lifted - PM

CHISINAU. Sept 12 (Interfax) - The Moldovan government stands ready to assume the necessary powers to unblock the participation of Moldovan servicemen in exercises abroad, Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

Moldovan President Igor Dodon attempted last week to ban the participation of Moldovan servicemen in exercises abroad, Filip said.

"This is the sixth such attempt. This can't continue any longer. The government is obliged by the law to ensure the armed forces' combat capability, and we will be doing this. Not participating in exercises means weakening the National Army. I can't understand why the commander-in-chief could favor a weak army," he said.

The situation was discussed at a meeting of the Democratic Party leadership earlier on Tuesday.

"It's necessary to find solutions so as not to set our servicemen up. Our colleagues should find a wording in order to make amendments to the law on defense, so that such decisions be made by the government and the parliament, just as is done in a parliamentary country. The government stands ready to assume these powers as soon as the parliament makes the relevant amendments to the law," Filip said.

The matter concerns the unblocking of servicemen's participation in exercises abroad rather than some of the other powers of the commander-in-chief stipulated by the law on national defense, he said.

President Dodon forbade Moldovan servicemen to take part in multinational military exercises in Ukraine last week. In response to this, the government decided last Wednesday to authorize the participation of Moldovan servicemen in the Rapid Trident 2017 exercise in Ukraine, despite the president's ban. On Thursday, a unit of Moldovan servicemen departed for Yavoriv in the Lviv region of Ukraine, where the Rapid Trident 2017 exercise began on September 7 and will run through the 23rd. The Moldovan unit includes 57 servicemen from the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion and the Moldova Brigade.

Dodon signed a decree last Friday banning the involvement of Moldovan servicemen in any exercises, training sessions, or courses abroad without the commander-in-chief's written permission. He also gave orders to identify the military officials responsible for sending Moldovan servicemen to Ukraine and initiate their demotion.