MOSCOW, September 11. /TASS/. Russia illuminated Moldova’s authorities on the need to abandon discriminatory action against Russian-language mass media, Moscow’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday at a news conference on the results of the negotiations with Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nicolae Popescu.
"We agreed to take measures to abandon breaches of visa-free travel and the use of prohibitive and restrictive measures against the citizens of our countries. We pointed out the need to guarantee the rights of journalists and freedom of professional activity along with preventing discriminative policy against the media. Moldova’s previous government carried out such actions against Russian-language mass media," he said.
The authorities in Moldova repeatedly denied entry to Russian performers, political experts, public figures and reporters, and among them were representatives from NTV, REN TV and other mass media. In light of this, the Russian Foreign Ministry handed a note of protest to Moldovan Ambassador to Russia Andrei Neguta.
Russia hopes that the Moldovan authorities will not permit artificial restrictions on the use of the Russian language, Sergey Lavrov stated at the news conference on Wednesday.
"We raised the issue that it was necessary to take steps to preserve the status of the Russian language in Moldova. Our counterparts took this into consideration,” said Lavrov, going on to say that he hoped this would make it possible to stop any artificial squeezing out of the Russian speakers and Russians in Moldova.
The language issue is very sensitive in Moldova. In 1989, the people of Transnistria and Gagauzia demanded legalizing Russian as a second official language, which was used by nearly 90% of the country’s population and was the main one for a third of the residents. That controversy resulted in a conflict in Gagauzia and war in Transnistria and caused a split in the country.
Support for Moldova's policy
Russia has reaffirmed its support of Moldova’s non-aligned status and the efforts of Moldovan officials to maintain political stability, the Russian foreign minister said on the outcomes of the talks with his Moldovan counterpart.
"We have reassured our Moldovan colleagues that Russia’s priority in bilateral relations is supporting the sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova, its non-aligned status, the support of the national government’s efforts on ensuring stability in domestic policy and reinforcing inter-ethnic trust. Under these conditions, we can develop and strengthen the multifaceted Russian-Moldovan relations with maximum efficiency based on pragmatism and mutual benefit," Lavrov said.
Russia welcomes Moldova’s stance to step up dialogue and expresses willingness to resolve the outstanding issues on the basis of the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between the countries, Sergey Lavrov told the news conference on Wednesday.
"We had great business-like talks, we share the opinion that the latest internal political processes in Moldova open up possibilities to bolster bilateral relations. Mr. Popescu underlined that the republic’s new government is interested in advancing cooperation with Russia," Lavrov said. "We welcome this attitude and are willing to reciprocate, ready to find ways to resolve the issues that have accumulated."
According to Russia’s top diplomat, Moscow is willing to sort out these issues "based on great groundwork." "I mean the 2001 Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation which is still very much relevant," Lavrov specified.