Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 179

The Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana, held talks in Chisinau on September 28-29 with President Petru Lucinschi and other Moldovan leaders. Discussions covered several topics:

–NATO-Moldova cooperation under the country’s individual partnership program –Moldovan participation in multilateral peacekeeping exercises –the country’s military reform –adaptation of flank quotas under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (a process complicated by the Russian military presence in Transdniester) –conflict resolution in Moldova and other post-Soviet areas and –relations among GUAM countries (Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova).

Solana and Lucinschi agreed that Moldova’s permanent neutrality–enshrined in its constitution–and its cooperation with NATO are compatible ways for Moldova to contribute to security in Europe. Moldovan leaders pointed to the need for international intercession in order to obtain the withdrawal of Russian forces from the country. Solana, while signaling sympathy, deferred to the OSCE in the matter.

In an article published in the Chisinau press under his byline, Solana indicated both that NATO is open for cooperation with all countries in the Euroatlantic space, and that the alliance does not countenance dividing that space among groups of countries–apparently a reference to the CIS. Solana’s chosen motto–“cooperation rather than competition”–seemed designed to defuse possible Russian objections to the development of NATO-Moldovan cooperation.

Moldova joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 1994, has participated in peacekeeping exercises since 1995, and signed an individual partnership program in 1997. Solana paid an official visit to Chisinau last year, and Lucinschi recently held talks at NATO Headquarters in Brussels (Moldova Suverana, September 28; Flux, Basapress, September 28, 29).