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Moldovan president says set to cooperate with both East, West

February 08, 0:00 UTC+3 CHISINAU

"Cooperation with EAEU does not contradict the EU association agreement," he said

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Moldovan President Igor Dodon

Moldovan President Igor Dodon

© REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

CHISINAU, February 7. /TASS/. Moldova should cooperate with both East and West, president Igor Dodon said after talks with President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani Tuesday.

"Judging by the meetings that we have held to date, I can assure you that Moldova will efficiently cooperate both with the East and the West," the president said on his Facebook page.

The Moldovan leader said he discussed with Tajani the recent presidential elections, the upcoming reforms and possible scenarios to solve the issue of Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria republic.

He also handed a draft memorandum on Moldova’s accession into the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to European Council President Donald Tusk and suggested setting up trilateral trade consultations involving Moldova, the European Union and Russia.

"Cooperation with EAEU does not contradict the EU association agreement," he said. "We are interested in keeping good relations with the European Union and in restoring the strategic partnership with the Russian Federation. My policies will be guided by the national interests of our country," Dodon told a TASS correspondent ahead of his visit to Brussels.

During the visit, Dodon also met with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The program of his visit also lists meetings with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.

At the meeting with the NATO official, Dodon suggested that the NATO leadership discarded plans of opening a mission in the Moldovan capital Chisinau. 

"I suggested not to open a NATO office in Chisinau," Dodon said after the meeting with Gottemoeller.

He added that if NATO goes ahead with the project, the issue will be solved "taking the Moldovan people’s opinion into account," possibly in a referendum.

The NATO official told reporters that NATO would go ahead with its plans to open an office in Chisinau, but it will be a small diplomatic mission staffed with civilians, similar to those that were opened in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.

Prior to his visit, Dodon told a TASS correspondent that Moldova is a neutral state and therefore should host no offices of NATO or other military alliances.

"Many are concerned that opening a mission is a first step for the republic’s accession into the alliance," he said, adding that the majority of the country’s residents oppose NATO membership.

The president added that his country will request the NATO leadership to publicly sign a document that recognizes Moldova’s status of a neutral state.

The document to open a NATO mission in Chisinau was signed in late November 2016 and ratified by the parliament before Dodon took office. The mission was scheduled to open in March.

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