NATO: Moldova’s Neutrality Is not an Obstacle to Cooperation with the Alliance

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Moldova’s neutrality is not an obstacle in the process of cooperation with NATO, Mircea Geoana, NATO Deputy Secretary General, said. “Despite the fact that Moldova has chosen the path of neutrality for itself, this is not an obstacle to the development of cooperation. An example of this is Sweden or Finland, whose defense ministers actively participate in joint work with their colleagues from the Alliance member countries. Or extremely close and fruitful relations with Austria, Switzerland or Ireland. These are also neutral countries where there are certain restrictions, but this does not prevent the development of cooperation,” Geoana said on Thursday at the online discussion “NATO Partnerships during the pandemic and its prospects”, organized by the NATO Information Center in Chisinau, reports. According to him, “the lessons of the current COVID-19 pandemic show that we need to increase our resilience as societies of NATO countries and partners, including in opposing manipulation and fake news”. “We must be in solidarity, we need each other. Neutrality does not mean isolation. NATO has about 40 partner countries around the world, and cooperation with all of them develops in the areas in which they are interested. We are not imposing anything on anyone, our partners themselves choose cooperation from our menu of cooperation,” said the Deputy Secretary General. He recalled that over 25 years of partnership with Moldova, there are many positive examples and results of cooperation. A NATO spokesman noted that “common values link 30 nations of the Alliance, which is the most successful alliance in the history of mankind”. According to him, thanks to these common goals, the connection between joining NATO and integration into the European Union is also visible. “It is not necessary to be a member of NATO, but cooperation helps to strengthen these values. Even for countries that do not aim to join NATO, cooperation is favorable for the process of their European integration,” Geoana said. Moldova is a neutral country, neutrality is enshrined in the Constitution, but does not have international recognition. Moldova cooperates with NATO within the framework of the “Individual Cooperation Plan”. The first Plan was signed in 2006, since then new plans are approved every three years. According to opinion polls, only 25-30% of Moldovans support the republic’s integration into NATO, while about 60% are categorically opposed.