Moldovan President Igor Dodon has not ruled out that the NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau could be closed after the upcoming parliamentary election in the country.
“There is a strong possibility that the alliance’s office [in Chisinau] will be closed after the parliamentary election at the end of the year,” Dodon said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Thursday.
According to Dodon, the reason for NATO’s push for an active presence in Moldova is “to move to the borders of the Russian Federation as close as possible.”
The president stressed that Moldova was a neutral country, and the principled stance of the majority of people was to avoid joining any military bloc and being dragged in geopolitical rivalries. The opening of the NATO office is an attempt to “sway public opinion” on the issue, he added.
Moldova’s relations with NATO started when the country joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1992 and the Partnership for Peace program in 1994. Dodon has repeatedly stressed that NATO membership is unacceptable for Moldova, which needs to remain neutral, as is stipulated in its constitution. A NATO Liaison Office opened in Chisinau in December 2017, while the alliance has stressed its respect for Moldova’s neutrality.
According to multiple polls, up to nearly 60 percent of Moldovans oppose the country’s possible accession to NATO, while preferring to stick with a neutral status.
The country has long been experiencing a stand-off between the Moldovan president and the government over the country’ foreign policy. The Moldovan president insists on rapprochement with Russia, while the parliamentary majority and the government abide by the pro-Western course in the foreign policy.
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