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It is wrong to build Moldova-EU relations on anti-Russian rhetoric, president says

January 17, 18:16 UTC+3

Moldova’s president believes it will be wrong to make friends with the West to antagonize the East

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Moldova’s President Igor Dodon

Moldova’s President Igor Dodon

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Moldova’s relations with the European Union cannot be built on anti-Russian rhetoric, Moldova’s President Igor Dodon told a TASS news conference.

"It is wrong to try to build relations with the European Union on anti-Russian rhetoric. It will be wrong to make friends with the West to antagonize the East and the other way round," he said.

On Transnistria

Moldova and Transnistria have agreed to discuss a package of documents concerning the Transnistria issue in the near future, Dodon said.

"Earlier this year I met with the leader of Transnistria for the first time as Moldova’s president, that is, an official," Dodon pointed out. "For the first time in 25 years, a Moldovan president congratulated the Transnistrian head on being elected. My political foes have been very critical over this but it is our citizens that live there on the left bank of the Dniester river. Indeed, they may hold Russian, Moldavan or Ukrainian citizenship but we consider them all to be our people."

"The important thing is that we have agreed to move forward," Dodon added.

"Of course, Chisinau and Tiraspol have different views on settling the issue but that doesn’t mean we can’t sit at the negotiating table and try to find solutions to common problems," he noted.

On federalization 

A number of provisions of the federalization concept elaborated earlier by Moldova’s Party of Socialists can be used at talks on the Transnistrian settlement, Dodon told TASS.

"The Transnistrian problem will top my agenda as president. Naturally, we have our vision of it," he said. "Some three years ago, I worked on a concept of Moldova’s federalization which granted Transnistria the status of a constituent entity of the federation. Now it is time to sit down at the negotiating table to try to find common language, and I think we will finally find it."

"The Party of Socialists, which developed this concept, insists on it," Dodon said. "I am no longer leader of the Party of Socialists. I am sure that what we elaborated in that concept, some of its aspects might be used as a basis in the negotiating process which, I am sure, will be launched very soon."

According to the Moldovan leader, the previous settlement plan, known as the Kozak memorandum, which also envisaged Moldova’s federalization, is no longer topical.

He said it was a timely step to establish a new office, that of a presidential adviser on reintegration and appointment of Vasilii Sova to that position. "I am very glad that Vasilii Sova has agreed to join our team as he has a serious experience, both positive and sad," Dodon noted. "The sad experience was when the Kozak plan had failed to be signed under [Moldovan President Vladimir] Voronin. It was a mistake at that point but now the Kozak plan is no longer topical and a new document is needed."

On mission in Moscow

Moldova insists that Transnistria has a mission in Moscow only as a Moldovan region as it cannot be considered as an equal participant in interstate relations, Dodon said, commenting of Transnistria’s plans to open a mission in the Russian capital city.

"Some of Moldovan regions already have missions abroad. Thus, Gagauzia has a mission in St. Petersburg, and now we are looking at possible opening of a mission in Turkey," he said. "We have no objections when Moldova’s regions open missions. But if someone considers it as bilateral interstate relations, he is wrong as Transnistria is de jure Moldova’s part. And we must resolve this problem de facto."

On January 12, Transnistria’s President Vadim Krasnoselsky said the unrecognized republic planned to open a mission in Moscow that would be tasked to establish relations with the Russian parliament and other state authorities, deal with issues of expanding economic ties and offer legal and consultancy assistance to Transnistrian citizens.

On Russian peacekeepers

Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria are fulfilling their mission, the issue of their withdrawal is not as acute as some politicians are trying to present it, Dodon told a TASS news conference.

"The peacekeepers fulfilled their mission and continue to do so," he said. "The issue is not as burning as some politicians in Moldova are trying to present it."

According to Dodon, peacekeepers in Transnistria have been the guarantor of stability and have a clear status and a clear-cut objective. "We need to discuss the issue within the framework of the negotiation process and make a critical decision," he went on to say. "However, withdrawing them in the coming weeks or months is out of the question. Let’s see what kind of a solution we will be able to find on a political settlement."

On NATO

Chisinau may come up with an initiative suggesting that Moldova and NATO sign an agreement envisaging that the alliance recognizes Moldova’s neutrality, Moldovan President, Igor Dodon, told a TASS press conference on Tuesday.

The Moldovan leader noted that he was opposed to opening NATO’s office in Chisinau. "I spoke out against this not only at this stage but also when I was a lawmaker. That’s very interesting. They rushed to open this office before I assumed office, realizing that I would block this move," Dodon said. "I believe that was a mistake, Moldova is a neutral state."

The president did not rule out that he would bring up the issue during his visit to Brussels in February. "I am going to discuss this issue in early February. I am planning to pay an official visit to Brussels at the beginning of February. We will be sure to have a meeting with representatives of NATO’s senior officials. I have a simple question: if you respect our country’s neutrality, why open NATO’s office? We are not opening and do not ask Russia to open the CSTO’s office in Chisinau," Dodon noted.

"I don’t rule out that we will come up with the initiative and propose NATO’s senior officials to sign an agreement, in which they will recognize our country’s neutrality. I believe this is important not only for us but for them as well to resolve all points of contention," he added.

On media ban

Dodon stands against banning media, including Russian broadcaster Rossiya 24.

"I strongly condemn banning media, including Russian broadcaster Rossiya 24," he said at a TASS press conference. "You can’t prohibit people from watching whatever they want to watch."

"Putting artificial bans on TV channels is not a European way," Dodon stressed.

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