In his talks with NATO secretary general Javier Solana on December 10 in Chisinau, Moldovan president Petru Lucinschi proposed that NATO develop a mechanism for providing security guarantees to neutral countries, specifically including Moldova. Lucinschi stated that the presence of foreign (i.e. Russian) troops in Moldova is incompatible with the country’s neutrality. At the same time Solana and Lucinschi agreed that the neutrality permits an expanding participation in NATO«s Partnership for Peace program, including troop exercises. NATO and Moldovan officials also discussed problems involving the conversion of ex-Soviet defense industrial facilities in Moldova, mainly in the electronics sector.
Transdniester leaders expressed concern prior to and during Solana’s visit that Moldova is drifting toward NATO. Reaffirming their support for Moscow’s opposition to NATO’s enlargement, the Transdniester leadership called for the permanent stationing of Russian troops in that part of Moldova in order to thwart NATO’s alleged plans in the region. Solana’s visit to Moldova was the first leg of an official tour which will take him to four CIS countries. (Basapress, Flux, February 10-11)
Karabakh Mediators Settle Own Dispute.