The Republic of Moldova declared its independence on 27 August 1991. We are now in 2018. The past twenty-seven years seem to give sufficient grounds for making serious analysis and appropriate conclusions on the current standing of the country. More than 150 states worldwide have recognized the independence of Moldova. Over the years of independence, the Republic of Moldova became a member of the influential Global and Pan-European, sub-regional and regional organizations. Naturally, we could have been straight away tempted to assert having fully accomplished the process towards founding the Republic of Moldova as an independent state and its governmental authorities having successfully implemented their mandates concerning development and granting security of the state while protecting the rights and interests of its citizens. However, I believe there are no grounds for stating unequivocally that overall the situation in Moldova moves exactly along this favorable trend.
I. CHALLENGES, RISKS AND THREATS OF PROVIDING FOR SAFE DEVELOPMENT OF MOLDOVA IN THE MODERN WORLD
- Analysis of the current international situation stemming from the challenges and risks of providing for safe development of the state and protection of human rights.
During the past twenty-seven years, the world witnessed major and even dramatic changes. The number of new hotbeds of tension keeps piling up. Practically on daily basis, we increasingly witness the tragic events occurring everywhere around the globe. Still, the ways to address the challenges are different at the global as well as at the regional levels. As a rule, while withstanding the natural calamities, most of the countries and people around the world are capable of finding common ground, stand in solidarity and furnish mutual assistance. Instead, in the issues of shaping up world order, abiding by the rules of conduct in providing for the global security, maintaining peace and stability, there is much less understanding and preparedness to hear each other in the international scene. Encountered to much lesser extent is the desire to create sustainable and predictable future in the international relations.
During the last decade, armed clashes broke out at a time in a number of countries and regions. Nowadays, in different parts of the world the level of armed confrontation is at the verge of an utmost dangerous trait. One could see it across the European region, in Northern Africa, Near East as well as in other regions. The number of countries involved in external conflicts expands on a day-to-day basis. Lack of a coherent ideology, common approaches to the issues security and peace keeping, to protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms is leading to emergence of new threats and new challenges for the entire international system.
The word “war” appears in mass media with alarming frequency although more than a quarter of a century ago we all believed that once the so-called “cold war” is over the world would become more stable, more predictable and fair.
- Analysis of the impact of risks bearing global and regional nature on the provision of secure development of the Republic of Moldova.
As the head of a small country – the Republic of Moldova – I do notice with concern that when big players, great Powers are unable to agree on reciprocal observance of each other’s interests, the less powerful countries and, at times, the entire regions, become the very first victims of the like disputes. For many years, in our country, we keep vigilantly watching the ever-increasing tension in the neighboring Ukraine as well as the development of events in the Balkans, Southern Caucasus, and Near East.
The geopolitical rivalry between the global players is gaining momentum. It leaves the impression that the locomotives of the global economy and politics promptly racing towards each other while the likelihood of head-on collision is at stake.
Given the ever-growing uncertainty let me highlight once again the commitment of the Republic of Moldova to line up harmonious, balanced external policy and abstain from being involved in ephemeral East-West confrontation. In this context, we intend to enhance our permanent neutrality status as stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova while fostering its recognition at the international level following the suit of such countries as Switzerland, Austria, Laos, Cambodia, Ireland, Malta, Turkmenia and others. We keep carefully studying the experience gained by the aforementioned countries from the standpoint of the major global powers and international organizations engagement with the process of political and legal strengthening of their neutrality status. In the years to come, we intend to make use of the available international experience with the view of achieving the respective consensus in consolidation and recognition of the neutrality status of the countries. We will keep further convincing our international counterparts on the need to confirm and recognize the permanent neutrality of Moldova as the milestone for strengthening trust and regional security.
- The domestic political challenges posing risks for secure development of the Republic of Moldova.
In line with the complicated foreign policy situation, including such at the regional level, certain tensioned processes also occur domestically. Unfortunately, we cannot say that today we have managed to achieve the nationwide and general political consensus in Moldova on such crucial and important priorities as building and development of a democratic, multinational and multiethnic state. Same as before, the political class of the Republic of Moldova is highly dispersed with regard to the issues concerning development of reciprocally beneficial relations with the European Union, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America.
The political class of Moldova is still lacking the capacity of standing out as the reliable voice of the will expressed by the citizens of the Republic of Moldova in the light of providing for the security of the state by promoting the policy of permanent neutrality. At the extent of entire period of the independence of Moldova, more than two thirds of its residents are supportive of the neutrality status of the country while there are persistent disputes on this issue amongst the political establishment. Because of such low-grade in-house political competition between different political powers, Moldova remains divided from the standpoint of its capacity to work out nationwide compromise with regard to political settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.
As the President of the country, I see my role in contributing all of my efforts to overcoming contradictions that have piled up in the nowadays society of Moldova. We ought to contribute all efforts in order to consolidate the political class and the citizens of the country, to outline common strategic priorities in the development of our state that could serve as a reliable foundation of the Moldova’s prosperity for many decades ahead.
II. MOLDOVA – FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES AND PARTNERS
- Moldova and its constitutional status of permanent neutrality.
I strongly believe that the Republic of Moldova has all chances to develop successfully as an independent, sovereign, law-based and democratic state, actively engaged in carrying out permanent neutrality policy bearing on the Moldovan people aspirations toward peaceful coexistence with other nations and states of Europe and the rest of the world. The Constitutional status of permanent neutrality should become the fundamental priority of foreign policy activity of the state, implying the need of building up good neighborly relations with all of Moldova’s international partners on mutually respectful basis. The permanent neutrality of Moldova is to serve as the core condition of the national energy and information security and as prerequisite of sustainable, long-term economic development and prosperity of the country.
- Challenges faced by the public authorities of Moldova with regard to implementation of the permanent neutrality status as part of the inter-State relations:
Moldova – Romania
The Republic of Moldova shall conduct the policy of friendship and cooperation with Romania bearing on historical traditions, shared culture, humanitarian values and Orthodoxy. Moldova and Romania should perceive each other as sincere friends and partners, supporting at large the kinship as the grounds for strategic coexistence of two friendly states.
Romania is a member of the European Union and NATO, which implies additional commitments on its side from the standpoint of respecting the norms and principles of the international law, including observance of the sovereignty and integrity of internationally recognized boundaries of the Republic of Moldova.
In its turn, Moldova should endeavor to use the existing capacity of Romania in developing interstate relations for the benefits of both states. Moldova should be entitled to count on conducting bilateral consultations with Romania concerning long-term preservation of its permanent neutrality status along with the prospects of its recognition on behalf of the international community. Of course, we would have been grateful to the authorities of Romania if they could make use of the available experience, outlined in the respective Government Decision on recognizing the neutrality of Austria in 1955.
Moldova – Ukraine
The relations between Moldova and Ukraine are bearing on the Agreement on good neighborhood, friendship and cooperation, effective since 1996. The process of legal-contractual formulation of the state border status by way of its delimitation and demarcation between our countries is practically fully accomplished. Ukraine is our close and friendly neighbor, most important partner in the sphere of foreign policy and trade and economic relations. Moreover, the Ukrainians are the most numerous diaspora in Moldova, representing one of the most important components of Moldovan statehood.
We assume that Ukraine could become one of the first countries to recognize the permanent neutrality status of Moldova that would also continue to render active assistance in the achievement of fair, long-term and sustainable settlement of Transnistrian conflict within the existing commonly recognized 5+2 format.
We believe that Ukraine, same as other engaged international partners, has an important role to play in searching solution for such an intricate problem as rendering assistance in removal and destruction of ammunition and weapons found in Kolbasna warehouses. It could also have a role to play in creating favorable conditions for accomplishing the process of withdrawal of all foreign troops from the territory of the Republic of Moldova (providing for transit).
Ukraine as a friendly state could become one of the key international partners for our country in providing stability and security of the Republic of Moldova.
Moldova – Russia
The history of Moldovan-Russian relations counts many centuries. Since the times of the Moldovan Ruler Stefan cel Mare, the relations implied friendship and mutual supportiveness. Provisions outlined in the strategic Agreement on friendship and cooperation (signed in 2001) serve as the grounds for the existing bilateral agreements.
Despite all of the upheavals marked in the Moldovan-Russian relations during the last decades, I am firmly convinced that Russia is a state that aspires to build up reciprocally beneficial interstate strategic relations in the interest of people of our countries. Russia is a reliable partner of the Moldovan state and Moldovan people not only in our historical past but also presently as well as in the future.
The Russian Federation is the facilitator and guarantor of comprehensive political settlement of Transnistrian conflict. I believe that Russia will do all possible in order to preserve peace in our country, so that Moldova could practically implement its historical chance of development as an independent, sovereign, territorially contiguous state within the internationally recognized boundaries. Thereat, we state our confidence that Russia would support the will of the Moldovan people with regard to preserving and strengthening the neutrality status of their state and would take all necessary steps to ensure that the permanent neutrality status of Moldova fully complies with the international requirements and agreements.
We see that Russia as one of the world powers produces significant influence onto the worldwide processes in the sphere of global security, in the issues of fostering equitable international order and multipolar world. In this context, we believe that together with Russia we could join the efforts in order to respond effectively to the nowadays challenges and threats to existence of the Moldovan state.
Moldova – European Union
The Republic of Moldova perceives the European Union as its natural strategic partner across all of the domains of life of the Moldovan state and society. I consider implementation of the multifunctional RM-EU Association Agreement as a chance for carrying out the much needed domestic reforms in the Republic of Moldova We do realize that these reforms are primarily for the benefits of the Republic of Moldova itself. We would like to express our gratitude to the European Union for its preparedness to support the international efforts targeted towards consolidation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova, contribute to the restoration of the territorial integrity, including in the process of settling the Transnistrian conflict in 5+2 format while rendering assistance in country’s development during post-conflict period.
The pan-European values and standards that were cordially accepted by our citizens, need to be reliably guarded and implemented in everyday life of the Moldovan society. Democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, supremacy of law should not merely shape up the core of the political and economic integration envisaged by the Association Agreement but should also facilitate political and socioeconomic development of the country.
It is of paramount importance for Moldova to adopt the best practices of some neutral European countries accumulated in facilitating provision of European and regional security. We support development of political dialogue with the European Union in all areas of mutual interest, including, inter alia, the security issues. Thereat, we call on the European Union to show its interest in supporting our efforts targeted towards consolidation of the permanent neutrality status of the Republic of Moldova and its international recognition.
Moldova – USA
The history of relationship between Moldova and the United States of America since the establishment of diplomatic relations back in 1992, is tightly bound with the development of mutually beneficial cooperation. The USA provide comprehensive assistance to the Republic of Moldova on its way to consistent implementation of democratic and market reforms as well as in meeting the international commitments undertaken by Moldova in the domain of protection of human rights with the view of providing for stability and sustainable development of the state. The USA has always contributed to creation of achievable prerequisites in providing stable and secure future for the Moldovan state and its citizens.
I am convinced that the USA intend to firmly support the prospects of Moldova’s development as an independent, territorially integral state while providing for inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of Moldova as the key factor of maintaining stability and security in Europe.
Development of the strategic dialogue laid in the foundation of bilateral relations serves as a reliable landmark in promotion of the democratic processes, establishment of civil society, granting respect to the fundamental freedoms of the Moldovan citizens regardless of gender, age, nationality or religious confession.
I am confident that the USA would continue building up the efforts in order to achieve peaceful and unbreakable decision on Transnistrian conflict resulting in a viable Moldovan state built on a democratic principles and securing economic stability and sustainable development.
I do believe that the position taken by the USA would always unconditionally pursue the recognition and respect of all norms and principles outlined in the democratically adopted Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, including provisions stipulating the permanent neutrality status of the Republic of Moldova.
Moldova – Turkey
For more than 25-years long period of bilateral relations between Moldova and Turkey we managed to create friendly, mutually beneficial, partner relations targeted towards strengthening position and ensuring strategic development of both states. Indeed, the Moldovan-Turkish relations have attained sustainable and stable development in various spheres of economy as well as in the domains of cultural, humanitarian and social nature.
Traditional link-bridge between Moldova and Turkey lies through active development of cultural and economic relations between Turkey and Gagauz Autonomy, which serves to strengthen trust between our countries and facilitates provision of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova.
We have been witnessing how nowadays Republic of Turkey gradually and steady works to increase its influence at the sub-regional level. Thereat, Turkey as member state of NATO could play the most important role in providing security and stability of situation in the Black Sea basin.
Lack of any controversies in the modern history of Moldovan-Turkish relations allows to express firm conviction that the Republic of Turkey and its leadership could facilitate, inter alia, in solving important issues concerning consolidation of stability and security of the Republic of Moldova. We would appreciate if Turkey would become the first state worldwide, provided there are respective prerequisites, to recognize the permanent neutrality status of the Republic of Moldova thus allowing to open a new page in the history of bilateral relations and future development of the Moldovan state in general.
Moldova and politico-military alliances
The international cooperation of the Republic of Moldova serves as an instrument for implementation of the national security policy, targeted, to the extent possible, towards influencing the process of consolidation of the international security environment in conformity with the national interests of the country by way of developing cooperation with the regional and international security structures.
Promotion of regional mechanisms by the Republic of Moldova based on consultation and development of interstate relations following the suit of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and NATO the Partnership for Peace is deemed as one of the possibilities of contributing to the international efforts in creation of the common system of security and strengthening stability in Europe and worldwide.
The stability, predictability and continuity of Moldovan external policy are the sole milestones that would pave the way of the Republic of Moldova to become respected, democratic European state with developed economy and high level of security.
However, taking into account the fact that our country does not pursue the objective to join the NATO, the relations between Moldova and NATO should bear a rather pragmatic nature and based on compliance with the constitutional permanent neutrality status of the Republic of Moldova exclusively.
I believe that one of my main objectives lies with facilitating achievement of the agreements at the international level on providing secure future for the Republic of Moldova based on recognition and strict observance of the permanent neutrality status of our state.
III. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS WITH REGARD TO PROVIDING SECURITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
With the purpose of ensuring sustainability and compatibility of the provisions on permanent neutrality stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova with the architecture of international security it is necessary to develop a number of respective regulatory instruments for incorporation of the international rules and standards governing the rights and obligations of neutral states into the national legislation.
However, there is a pressing need for consolidation of efforts undertaken by neutral states with the view of developing common approaches and outlining their role in strengthening the European security, which, inter alia, would facilitate the promotion of the process of international recognition of the permanent neutrality status of Moldova. Initiation and holding of summit of neutral states could become the most efficient mechanism for promoting these objectives and goals.
Use could be made of the hereby stated approaches when developing the Concept of foreign policy, the Concept of permanent neutrality, the National security Strategy and other regulatory instruments laid in the foundation of the state policy pursued by the Republic of Moldova while providing secure development of the country.
- Development and adoption of the new Concept of foreign policy
It is necessary to lay in the foundation of the Concept such principles of the foreign policy of Moldova as: openness, partnership spirit, good neighborhood, mutual respect, reciprocally beneficial cooperation based on strict abidance by the policy of permanent neutrality in foreign economic relations with other states and international organizations.
The foreign policy of Moldova should strictly comply with the letter and the spirit of the Charter of the UN, the 1975 Helsinki Agreement, the Charter for European Security and other fundamental instruments governing modern international relations.
- Development and adoption of the Concept of permanent neutrality of Moldova
The Concept of permanent neutrality status of the Republic of Moldova – is a document reflecting the unified approach and a comprehensive view on the place and role of the Republic of Moldova within the system of international relations and regional security. The main goal and objective pursued by the Concept is to protect the multinational structure of the Moldovan state, strengthen territorial integrity and ensure the inviolability of the external borders, contribute to the process of withdrawal of foreign troops from the territory of the Republic of Moldova while creating conditions for sustainable and long-term development of the country.
The Concept will serve as the grounds for adoption of the New National Security Strategy and development of special organic law on the permanent neutrality status in conformity with the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova.