Moldova has no plans to join Romania or NATO, acting president says

MOLDOVA

Moldova’s acting president Mihai Gimpu on Wednesday said the new ruling coalition would neither attempt to join NATO, nor try to return the country to Romanian control. He made the comments to Moldova’s PROTV television channel. Gimpu, who is also speaker of parliament, took over as acting president after Vladimir Voronin resigned earlier this month.

A four-party alliance of centre-right parties recently elected to power in Moldova has no intention of abandoning the country’s traditional neutral stance between Russia and NATO, he said.

“Bringing Moldova into NATO, or Moldova’s exit from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), is not part of the tasks (the ruling coalition) has set before it,” Gimpu said. “Our priority is reducing poverty in the country.”

It was the first major foreign policy declaration by a senior member of the ruling coalition, since Gimpu took over presidential duties on Tuesday.

A summit of CIS leaders is scheduled to take place in Chisinau in October, Gimpu said.

Moldova’s new government as its top foreign policy goal would seek accommodation and eventual membership in the European Union, and at the same time would would not consider a return to Romanian sovereignty, he said.

“One must reconcile one’s self with the idea, that although we (Romanians and Moldovans) are brothers, we are two separate countries,” Gimpu said.

Leaders of Moldova’s powerful opposition Communist Party have in recent weeks repeatedly accused the ruling coalition of planning to abandon Moldovan independence and bring the country under Romanian sovereignty, in order to fast-track EU membership.

Some extreme Romanian nationalists also have given outspoken support to the idea, citing Moldova’s status as a Romanian province until Soviet invasion in 1940.

Gimpu rejected any prospect of a change to Moldova’s independence, saying “Our goal is improving living standards (in Moldova) so as to wind up in the European Union alongside Romania.”

The government would “very soon” cancel a controversial visa requirement for Romanian nationals wishing to visit Moldova, he said.

Moldova’s previous Communist government controlled parliament and the presidency from 2000 – 2009. Chisinau’s relations with Moscow were rocky for most of the period because of disputes over Russian troops stationed in the breakaway Moldovan province of Transnistria, and Kremlin bans on Moldovan agricultural exports.

Voronin, Moldovan Communist Party leader and president at the time, also clashed with Bucharest, accusing the Romanian government government of secretly supporting the centre-right political parties that were opposing to him.

The four party “European Integration” alliance replaced the Communists in Moldova after national elections in late July.

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