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Nicu Popescu: Neutrality does not mean demilitarization


https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/nicu-popescu-neutrality-does-not-mean-demilitarization-7965_1091624.html

Neutrality does not mean demilitarization and isolation at foreign level, said Deputy Prime Minister Nicu Popescu. According to him, Moldova’s neutrality status that is stipulated in the Constitution does not exclude investment in the national army and in strengthening the defense capabilities. The enormous sums announced by Moldova’s foreign partners of the Republic of Moldova are used as state budget finds to pay subsidies for energy and are allocated to implement infrastructure projects whose effects will be felt later, IPN reports.

Nicu Popescu said the country’s foreign partners announced large sums in assistance at the Moldova Support Platform, but a large part of this money is offered not as budget support, but for projects to modernize and Europeanize the country.

“Sums of hundreds of millions of euros are reported, but we should realize that not all the funds are disbursed immediately. These processes sometimes last for several weeks. The effects will be felt gradually as these funds are invested in particular projects. At the same time, the Republic of Moldova already received a number of tranches of financial support in the form of grants and loans. The IMF in May transferred US$55 million. In July, the Government of Poland transferred US$20 million. With Romania, we have the €100 million grant agreement. 26 million lei will be provided this year. Furthermore, Romania announced additional sums,” Nicu Popescu stated in the talk show “Diplomatic Dimension” on the public TV channel Moldova 1.

The official said the foreign partners provide funds in the form of grants and as loans with advantageous interest rates and are designed to reduce the consequences of the Ukraine war for the country’s economy and the welfare of citizens.

“This money goes to build roads, the access way to a new bridge that we want to build with Romania. It will be a new bridge between Ungheni – Ungheni (Romania). Last year, the energy bills were subsidized and we are now making reserves to cope with new difficult situations. Not all the announced sums have been disbursed yet. But the money is used to reduce the negative impact of the war. In the case of the exports of agricultural products that went mainly to the East, we substantially increased the export quotas with the EU and are trying to establish new political and commercial relations with states from the Middle East, which need fruit, vegetables,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration.

He also said that Moldova banks on foreign assistance in modernizing the national army as the defense sector has been neglected for 30 years but neutrality costs more than affiliation to a military bloc.

“Last September, we launched discussions to include the Republic of Moldova in the so-called European Peace Facility, which is an EU assistance program for the armies of the partner states. The first assistance package offered to the Republic of Moldova was announced in December. Yes, we are a neutral state according to the Constitution, but neutrality does not mean demilitarization. The neutral states need strong, modern, functional armies to defend their neutrality even more than the states from alliances,” stated
Nicu Popescu.