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EU-Moldova association deal may be scrapped if people say so — president

January 24, 23:10 UTC+3 CHISINAU

"We haven’t increased exports to the EU, but have lost the market in Russia, which had remained the main one for our country for many years," Dodon said

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Moldovan President Igor Dodon

Moldovan President Igor Dodon

© AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

CHISINAU, January 24. /TASS/. Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Tuesday that the association agreement with the EU may be revoked if the people of the country resolve so.

"If most Moldovan nationals at the referendum or the majority of the elected parliamentarians speak against the agreement with the EU and decide to revoke it, the president cannot and will not prevent this," Dodon said at a news conference

The Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, he led earlier came out against the signing of this agreement on grounds it was ‘premature’, he reminded reporters.

"Putting it baldly, this was done for geopolitical considerations, and that is exactly why we can see what is happening - growing corruption, distrust of the authorities, declining numbers of European integration supporters from 70% in 2009 to 39% we have seen in the recent polls," the president went on.

"We haven’t increased exports to the EU, but have lost the market in Russia, which had remained the main one for our country for many years. One billion euros was stolen from the country’s banking system after the signing of the agreement," the president said.

Igor Dodon said he wanted to discuss these issues during his official visit to Brussels on February 6-7. "Bilateral relations will be discussed, as well as the implementation of the association agreement with the EU, the drawbacks and omissions that have emerged two years after it was signed," Dodon added.

"Today I have handed over to the head of the EU delegation to Moldova Pirkka Tapiola a draft memorandum on cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission and Moldova. This document on cooperation with the Eurasian union is by no means at variance with the Association Agreement with the EU," the president noted.

He said "Moldova should develop good relations with the EU maintaining at the same time strategic partnership with Russia, as only cooperation both with the West and in the East can ensure the interests of the Moldovan nationals".

 The president also spoke against his country’s entry into NATO and Moldova’s union with Romania.

"Moldova, as a neutral state, should not have an office of NATO or any other organizations. Many have feared that the opening of a liaison office is the first move towards republic’s joining NATO," the president told a news conference.

He said he planned to discuss that issue during his upcoming visit to Brussels, due on February 6-7. "It would be ideal to sign with NATO a declaration on Moldova’s neutrality," Dodon said.

Besides, he criticized Moldovan and Romanian politicians seeking unification of the two countries. "We have no problems with Romania apart from one - a bid of some politicians to incorporate Moldova into Romania. This is what we will not allow, we will be fighting against this, we will seek a legislative ban on activity of the parties that favor the liquidation of our state," the president said.

Dodon also urged Romanian officials to abandon the practice of "giving instructions to the president of Moldova". "May be this has been acceptable up until now to see instructions to the Moldovan president coming from Bucharest. But is not acceptable any longer, " he added.

In reply to reporters’ query what will he do if the leaders of Romania and Ukraine don’t invite him for an official visit, the Moldovan president said "love cannot be forced".

"If no invitation comes at the level of the heads of state, I will be establishing cooperation with the parliament, the government," Dodon said, reminding reporters that the opposition Social Democratic Party came to power in the recent elections in Romania.

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