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What is the fuss around US aid for Moldova’s Army?

An article published this week by Russia Today reported that US Navy is going to build “military objects” at Moldova’s Bulboaca training base which would be used to train troops for an eventual attack against the closely-located breakaway Transnistria. The article could have been ignored as another attempt of disinformation aimed at the public opinion, but it was not the case.

The infamous, non-grata Russian Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin, even shared the piece on his Facebook profile, reinforcing the claim that the Americans are starting the training of special troops of RM (Republic of Moldova) for the case of another armed conflict with Transnistria. Commenting for RT, Moldovan President, Igor Dodon promised to check the information on US plans in Bulboaca. Later, he announced he would visit the base on August 14th to clarify the state of the things, adding that he would not accept the Moldovan soldiers to be pieces of any military camp.

Clarification

Moldovan Ministry of Defense had nothing but to dissipate the disinformation spread by RT. In a press-release, it clarified that since 2012 Moldova benefits from a $1,6 million grant for infrastructure modernization of Bulboaca Military Training Base, as a partner within the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). Moreover, Defense Ministry stressed out that the US funds from GPOI were used to improve the training of Moldovan 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion for participating in UN peacekeeping missions- activities that are not connected with NATO and that do not affect Moldova’s neutrality.

On August 10th, the US Ambassador to Moldova, H.E. James Pettit, paid a visit to Bulboaca base to reconfirm the American interest in improving the peacekeeping capacities of Moldovan National Army and to check how GPOI funds are being spent. Together with deputy chief of National Army General Staff, Colonel Eduard Ohladciuc, Pettit visited the multifunctional target range, the two shooting ranges and the three barracks- all part of the first stage of the project. The officials also went to see the base staff headquarters and the tactical town used for practical training (now under renovation).

According to the US Embassy in Moldova, the United States has already invested $1,1 million to improve training areas and roads in Bulboaca, and anticipates investing at least another $1,2 million.

What about the $12,7 million for Army modernization?

Furthermore, Pettit responded to questions arisen after the recent declaration of former Defense Minister Anatol Șalaru on US cancelling the $12,7 million aid to the National Army because of President Dodon blocking Moldova’s participation in international exercises.

Speaking of the Foreign Military Financing to Moldova, Pettit declared that the funds were rather suspended, not canceled:

“The financial assistance was not suspended at all. Unfortunately, we have noticed that the National Army did not participate in military exercises abroad this year”, the American diplomat said.

“…There is only a break in equipment supply, because we need to make a clear plan on future participation of the National Army in exercises abroad. I hope that the army will participate and this is going to happen soon”added Pettit, but did not answer what would happen if President Dodon will continue to make Moldova’s army not attend international exercises.

In February 2017, as commander-in-chief, President Igor Dodon refused to sign the decree of deployment of Moldovan troops to Platinum Eagle 2017, an exercise in Romania involving soldiers from Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Slovenia, Romania (NATO), and non-NATO Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine. Dodon then motivated the refusal to allow deployment of troops to the joint exercise with the lack of an approved Defense Minister and lack of arguments in favor of the participation.

Meanwhile, Defense ex-Minister Șalaru announced he would submit a penal complaint against Dodon for undermining the national defense system of Moldova by scaring $12,7 million off with refusals to participate in regional military exercises.

What happens with the American aid for the Moldovan army will probably be clearer after Dodon visits Bulboaca Training Base on August 14th.

***

Note:

  • The National Army of Moldova has been participating in international peacekeeping missions since 1997, with a total of almost 300 officers and NCOs in Iraq, Liberia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Georgia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Kosovo.
  • Established in 2005, GPOI is the U.S. contribution to the G8 Action Plan to improve international peacekeeping operations. Since 1997, the GPOI program and its predecessor programs have trained national forces of over 53 nations for international peace operations.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy. Inquiries at [email protected]

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A group of Democratic Party deputies demanded temporary suspension of President Igor Dodon

President Igor Dodon is on the brink of his fourth temporary suspension after he repeatedly refused to appoint two candidates as ministers.

Today, a group of deputies of the Democratic Party submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court, requesting “a statement of the circumstances justifying the interim president of the Republic of Moldova in order to overcome the constitutional blockade generated by the deliberate refusal to fulfill the constitutional obligation of the appointment of some members of the Government.”

Reminder: Although Prime Minister Pavel Filip declared he will insist on the two candidatures, Igor Dodon refuses to sign the decrees for the appointment of the new ministers proposed by PDM. Dodon said that Silvia Radu, proposed for the position of Minister of Health, would not be a specialist in the given field, and Nicolae Ciubuc, who was promoted to the Minister of Agriculture, would have problems of integrity.

Silvia Radu, proposed as Minister of Health, Labor and Social Protection

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Dodon refuses to appoint the two ministers. PM Filip will ask the CCM to suspend the president

The political spectacle continues. President Igor Dodon sent a letter to Prime Minister Pavel Philip informing him that he did not accept to nominate the two candidates for the positions of Minister of Health, Labor and Social Protection (Silvia Radu), as well as agriculture and food industry (Nicolae Ciubuc), proposed by the Democratic Party.

“I think everyone has to deal with what they’re better at. One needs to understand the difference between paracetamol and aspirin,” the head of state said.

Moreover, Igor Dodon believes that this is done in order to launch these candidates in the election campaign later on.

In reply, Prime Minister Pavel Filip said that President Igor Dodon’s refusal to accept the two proposed ministers is a new violation of the Constitution.

“We will address the Constitutional Court to call for a solution to this institutional blockage that the head of state is trying to provoke,” the prime minister declared.

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James Pettit: The process of European integration is slowing down

Compared to the year 2016, Moldova’s European integration process has recently slowed down. The statement belongs to the US Ambassador to Chisinau, James Pettit. During a show at TVR Moldova television, the diplomat mentioned that a cause of the slowdown may be the fact that the Republic of Moldova is on the verge of parliamentary elections, IPN reports.

The ambassador considers that the biggest challenge in terms of European integration of the Republic of Moldova is corruption, which exists in all areas. At the same time, the diplomat claims that there are several areas that are not working well, including the legal sector that has not made much progress in recent years. As a national tragedy, the ambassador called the migration of the population of the Republic of Moldova.

The Ambassador said that the US is providing training through its programs for judges, lawyers, and civil servants.

“From time to time we have experts in the US or in Europe who can train these officials,” declared Pettit.

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