Comment by the Information and Press Department on Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova Andrei Galbur’s visit to Russia
On April 4, Andrei Galbur, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, will pay a working visit to Moscow at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
During the talks, both foreign ministers will consider opportunities to increase various aspects of Russia-Moldova cooperation after overcoming the political crisis in Moldova and establishing a new national government in January 2016. This should hinge on the principles stipulated in the 2001 Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation.
Mr Lavrov and Mr Galbur will discuss the prospects for developing bilateral relations, their place in the system of both countries’ foreign policy priorities regarding both the European and regional implications. Russia remains invariably committed to supporting the neutral status of Moldova, to stabilising the country’s domestic political situation without external pressure, based on democratic principles, inter-ethnic accord and balancing Moldova’s foreign-policy orientation.
The talks will make it possible to exchange opinions on ways to make the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) more effective and to activate the potential of the CIS Interstate Humanitarian Cooperation Fund. The parties will focus on the current situation with the Transnistria peaceful settlement. The incipient current decline in the talks’ momentum and the slower promotion of confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol by fits and starts cannot help but evoke concern. A well thought-out and responsible assessment of the situation is needed. The visit will provide an opportunity to clarify the viewpoint of the republic’s leaders on the direction in which the process of restoring trust between the sides will develop, and how the principle of equality during the dialogue on a peace settlement will be observed.
Apart from updating the agenda of bilateral political contact, the sides will touch on issues of more active inter-parliamentary cooperation, resuming the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Commission for Cooperation between the Russian Federal Assembly and the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.
The parties will have to work together in order to restore the momentum in trade, economic, humanitarian and other spheres that has slowed considerably over the past few years. We perceive inter-regional ties as an important reserve for expanding cooperation. In all, this format involves 55 Russian regions, and over 30 framework agreements have been signed.
In 2014, Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union that stipulates the creation of a bilateral free trade zone. This move negatively affected the dynamics of Russian-Moldovan trade turnover. In late 2015, this turnover fell by 32 per cent and totaled $1.22 billion. At the same time, Russian exports fell 30 per cent, with imports from Moldova falling by 41.2 per cent and totaling $185.8 million. Considering the fact that, apart from its European integration policy, Chisinau is party to an intra-CIS free trade zone, customs import duties have been charged on various categories of Moldovan goods since 2014 in order to minimise risks from exporting and re-exporting goods from third countries. In an effort to guarantee phyto-sanitary safety, Russian oversight agencies have also restricted deliveries to Russia of Moldovan fruits, vegetables and wines that are subject to quarantine. Their deliveries to the Russian market are monitored by the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) and the Federal Supervision Service for Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) and guaranteed by the Republic of Moldova National Food Safety Agency.
The sides are determined to prepare for a regular meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission for Economic Cooperation which is co-chaired by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Octavian Calmac, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of the Republic of Moldova. This format is called on to promote trade and economic exchange and to draft decisions for sustained long-term fuel and energy cooperation.
We are ready to continue the dialogue on migration issues, including issues of practical cooperation in addressing the problems of Moldova’s immigrant workers in Russia. Various draft cooperation agreements in the area of labour migration, the fight against illegal immigration, on readmission and the organised recruitment of immigrant workers are currently at varying degrees of readiness. In this context, the Russian side intends to note the unacceptability of the latest bans and restrictions being applied by the Moldovan authorities with regard to Russian citizens entering Moldova. During this period, Moldovan authorities have denied access to dozens of Russian journalists, political analysts, representatives of Russian state agencies and military personnel serving with the joint peacekeeping forces in Transnistria for “security reasons.” We perceive the actions of Chisinau as unfriendly and as violating the rights of Russian journalists to perform their professional duties freely.
We are determined to finalise and sign a three-year inter-governmental programme of humanitarian cooperation whose draft version was submitted to Chisinau by Russia as far back as May 2015. The document aims to invigorate exchanges between research and academic circles, to support the Russian language in Moldova, to expand exchanges between universities, cooperation in the area of healthcare, migration processes, tourism, sport and youth policy.
A plan of consultations between Russian and Moldovan foreign ministries for 2016-2017, due to be signed during the visit, will help maintain effective ties between them.
April 2, 2016