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news 23 Nov 17

NATO To Open Liaison Office in Moldova

A NATO office will open next week in Chisinau, it was announced, after Moldova's Prime Minister, Pavel Filip, met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Thursday.

Mădălin Necșuțu
BIRN
Chișinău
PM Filip(left) and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels. Photo: nato.int.

A NATO office will open shortly in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, it was announced, after Moldova's pro-Western Prime Minister Pavel Filip met NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

Both sides said was agreed that Moldova will remain militarily neutral, according to its constitution, but Filip underlined that it wants to strengthen its relationship with NATO.

Stoltenberg replied that Moldova can be resilient to exterior threats only by implementing reforms and modernizing the country.

Although the NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau will be a purely diplomatic institution, staffed by civilian personnel, both Russia and Moldova's pro-Russian Socialists have strongly opposed the initiative.

Moldova's, pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon, blocked any decision on appointing a new Defence Minister for more than 10 months, before the recent appointment of Eugen Sturza.

The new minister has ambitious plans to purchase weaponry and modernize the army for the first time since Moldova declared independence from the Soviet Union.

The budget allocated by Moldova for defence remains low at under 0.5 per cent of GDP, mainly covering only staff salaries and logistics.

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