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Republic of Moldova establishes diplomatic relations with the Republic of Benin

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Source: mfa.gov.md

24 January 2018- Republic of Moldova and the Republic of Benin established diplomatic relations.

The ceremony of signing the protocol on the diplomatic relations took place at the Representation Office of the Republic of Moldova at the United Nations in New York, with the presence of the Moldovan Ambassador Victor Moraru and the Benin Ambassador, Jean-Claude de Rego.

Ambassador de Rego and Ambassador Moraru

The two officials reportedly exchanged opinions on the possibilities for improving the bilateral relations, the existent potential of cooperation in the social and economic domains, as well as on the Moldo-Beninese interaction within the UN.

The representatives submitted a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to inform the UN Member States about the newly established diplomatic relations.

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

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Reintegration

Moldova’s Foreign Minister Tudor Ulianovschi met Russian FM Sergey Lavrov at the Munich Security Conference

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Source: mfa.gov.md

17 February 2018- Moldova’s Foreign Minister, Tudor Ulianovschi, met with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, at the Munich Security Conference, in Germany.

The two officials reportedly exchanged opinions on the agenda of the bilateral relations, underlining the need for improving the political dialogue. Ulianovschi and Lavrov also talked about the importance of continuing the negotiations on identifying a political solution in the Transnistrian conflict, on the basis of respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova.

Recently, the Moldo-Russian relations have gotten colder. Russia accuses Moldova of violating the right to information by imposing a ban on Russian TV, while Moldova accuses Russia of meddling in the Moldovan politics through party financing, propaganda but also abuse against Moldovan officials.

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Security

Ukraine’s border police arrests two Transnistrian “policemen” attempting to kidnap Odesa man

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Source: trueUA

12 February 2018- The Ukrainian border police of the Belgorod-Dnestrovsk segment arrested two “policemen” of Transnistria attempting to kidnap a Ukrainian citizen to the separatist region avoiding the checkpoint, reports TrueUA.

Initially, the “Kuchurgan” segment border police noticed two persons trying to pull another person nearby the “Kuchurgan” border checkpoint. The kidnapped person proved to be a male Ukrainian citizen from the city of Odesa.

The suspects are investigated for an attempt of kidnapping.

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Politics

Four MEPs distance themselves from Ilan Shor, EPP warns it does not support Shor party

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The five MEPs meeting with Ilan Shor, the "operator" of the Grand Moldovan Theft

24 January 2018- In a statement, four Italian members of the European Parliament from the EPP group denounced the way the Shor Party and some press outlets reported their recent visit to Orhei, the Moldovan city where the infamous banker Ilan Shor is mayor. The MEPs are Fulvio Martusciello, Stefano Maullu, Alberto Cirio and Salvatore Domenico Pogliese.

According to them, the visit was used to attack the center-right opposition in Moldova, to discredit the European People’s Party and to misguide the public opinion:

“We deeply regret the malicious manipulations by the Shor party and the press regarding our last visit to Moldova. This visit to Moldova was conducted in our private capacity and does not represent, in any way, the European People’s Party’s (EPP) intention nor wish to express support or to work with Ilan Shor or with the Shor party.The use of the visit by the media – controlled by the Shor party and the ruling party – to attack the opposition, shows a desperate attempt to discredit the EPP, the center-right opposition in Moldova and to misguide the public opinion. ”

The decision to distance from Shor comes after the EPP group declaration on the visit of the four Italian MEPs and another Czech EPP MEP, Tomas Zdechovsky.  According to the Foreign Affairs Coordinator of the EPP, Cristian Preda, the visit itself and the declarations of the given MEPs do not represent the position of the EPP in matters of foreign policy:

“The European People’s Party does not have anything in common with Mr.Shor and his party”, stated the Romanian MEPadding that Maia Sandu’s Action and Solidarity Party and Andrei Năstase’s Platform “Dignity and Truth” truly represents the pro-European, democratic forces with engagement to the anti-corruption fight Moldova needs.

The four MEPs and the EPP can have the right to be concerned about how Shor’s media reflected their visits: they allegedly pledged to support Shor in his political career, appreciated his projects in Orhei, even promised support in the investigation of the banking frauds, questioned the Kroll report.

Ironically, just after the release of the EPP statement, the Shor party issued a report on its Vice-President, Marina Tauber (Shor’s former business partner), meeting the Vice-President of the European Parliament, EPP-affiliated FIDESZ MEP, Livia Jaroka. The meeting was reportedly focused on “the role of women in politics” and the issues of “anti-semitism and xenophobia”.

EPP can issue statement after statement condemning Shor, but eventually, lobby groups will do their best with Shor’s money to make EPP MEPs or other figures available for meetings and discussions with the former banker or his associates.

Ilan Shor has other “supporters” in the European Parliament: French MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhauser (who helped French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen obtain a 9 million euros loan from the First Russian-Czech Bank), Italian MEPs Elisabetta Gardini (VP of EPP, supporter of lifting personal sanctions against Russian officials), Lorenzo Fontana (Lega Nord). Schaffhauser, Fontana, and the above-mentioned Alberto Cirio visited the separatist entities in Eastern Ukraine, while Gardini failed to visit illegally-occupied Crimea. His sudden visits to the EP drew quite some attention in the international and national press.

A central figure of the Kroll report on the “Billion Theft”, Ilan Shor was sentenced to 7,5 years in prison for particularly large scams, money laundering. Shor is accused of obtaining more than 5 billion lei from Banca de Economii in loans, from 4th to 25th of November 2014, the sum being confirmed by the Kroll report, and then laundering them through offshore companies. Ilan Shor has been under preventive arrest since 22 June 2016 but then released in June 2017. He is currently the mayor of Orhei, a city in the center of Moldova.

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