Iulian Chifu // NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau: symbol of transatlantic relations of Moldova
A NATO Liaison Office will be set up in Chisinau after an agreement to this effect was signed on Tuesday by Prime Minister Pavel Filip and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who mentioned in the press conference that the new office is a civilian one and not a military base. “The new NATO Liaison Office will be important for our political support but also for our practical support for the Republic of Moldova. This is a small, civilian office - not a military base. It is about cooperation, not about imposing NATO priorities or membership on Moldova. NATO fully respects Moldova’s neutrality,” Stoltenberg declared.
This news appeared almost simultaneously with the private visit of, not validated yet, President-elect of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon to Moscow and is meant to represent, symbolically and factually, a strong reinsurance formula that the election of a pro-Russian President will not change the strategic orientation of Moldova. Indeed, the crucial issue of the presidential election from November 13 was a very complicated signal given and the interpretations that could come with major costs for Moldova.
After humbling the new president, with somehow voluntaristic beginnings, at first, shown by Speaker Andrian Candu on the limits of his responsibilities, here today Prime Minister Filip takes an important step which means both a reaffirmation of the strategic orientation and strengthening the relationship with NATO and the US, and a signal of the need to reform the defense sector and the program to increase the defense capability of the Republic of Moldova, that Romania has brought Chisinau to and thanks to the substantial contributions of the Ministers of Defense Anatol Salaru and Viorel Cibotaru. And today the signal is even more consistent, because Anatol Salaru already announced the desire to eliminate the Soviet symbolism in military units and the eternal tank that guards the left side of Prut and whose place is already at the museum. Despite the symbolic gestures of night guarding the pieces of metal through the country, done by socialists.
The signal was absolutely necessary because the concern was important and the assurances had to have a powerful content, not only promises, a list of immediate reforms or a roadmap, presented at European level. Chisinau understood that it takes a strong, consistent and symbolic message, and it gave it. Moreover, as the IMF agreement was concluded, it should be known that funding is also based on good relations, reforms and strategic pro-Western orientation, relations with NATO, US and EU, and not done for the reorientation of Moldova to Moscow. It should still be proved that Igor Dodon will come up with money and will not give commitments that he cannot meet or do not mean putting down Moldova's sovereignty and returning to the former Soviet Empire.
Opening the NATO liaison office in Chisinau comes after many efforts in Moldova itself. While we remember the hardships such a step encountered, about a year and a half waiting in parliament and then blocked in the commission for foreign policy by Marian Lupu, PD candidate to the Presidency of the Republic of Moldova, loss of budget for the current year, all these difficulties are felt today when things were exceeded. After the establishment of NATO Contact Point, provided at the beginning by Romania, after the establishment of the Information and Documentation Centre on NATO - IDC on NATO, all when Vladimir Voronin was president, now Moldova takes the next step, made before Igor Dodon installment to avoid limiting his area of movement in relation to Russia, if it can bring something new to Moldova through good offices.
And it seems that Russia also intends to mark symbolically the victory in Chisinau of its pupil because did not want to sign the elimination of the embargo on vegetables and fruits already negotiated by the intergovernmental mixed commission Moldova - Russia, held this week in Moscow, but wants the new president to come on official visit by the end of the year and after a meeting with Vladimir Putin, to validate this document. In place of Mr. Dodon, I would be worried about this, because may appear pressures and lists of actions requested by Russia which concern the new president. Anyway, attention will be on him and on the commitments he personally takes in Moscow, knowing the limits of his mandate and duties, which limits drastically his voluntaristic intentions and even the ability to employ something else than his own will in discussions with the Russian side.