Popescu: Moldovan Authorities Do not Reconsider the Republic’s Neutral Status

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The idea of joining NATO is not supported by the Moldovan population, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nicolae Popescu said. Moldova’s authorities are not reviewing the republic’s neutral status, enshrined in its constitution since 1994. Foreign and European Integration Minister Nicolae Popescu stated this when he met with Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky on Thursday, tass.ru reported. “The [Moldovan] government and parliament have not taken any formal steps” leading to abandoning the principle of neutrality enshrined in the constitution, Popescu said in an interview with the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes. Meanwhile, he admitted that in Moldova, in light of the events in Ukraine, “there is a public discussion [about its neutral status] and various proposals are emerging”. The idea of joining the North Atlantic Alliance, according to Popescu, is not supported by the Moldovan population. “Neutrality does not mean we isolate ourselves. Moldova is now adapting its defense thinking and strategy to the new reality, but we have no concrete discussion yet about [the possibility of starting] a new phase of relations with NATO,” the minister said. He stressed that Chisinau’s priority is the implementation of its plans to join the European Union. Moldova submitted an application to the European Commission in early March this year and expects the Czech Republic to help it receive the status of candidate state during its six-month EU presidency, which begins July 1. Popescu also noted that in the situation around Ukraine, his country does not feel it is under any immediate military threat. “We are preparing for all possible scenarios, but if we talk about [direct] military threats, I don’t think Moldova could be drawn into war in the near future,” the minister said. Point