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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Joint Statement on U.S.-Moldova Strategic Dialogue

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Moldova.

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The Governments of the United States of America (United States) and the Republic of Moldova (Moldova) held a meeting of the U.S.-Moldova Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C. on April 18, 2024, as well as political consultations between Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, Richard Verma and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mihai Popsoi.

For more than 30 years, the United States and Moldova have built a strategic bilateral partnership.  Faced with threats posed by the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine, this partnership has only grown stronger.  During the Strategic Dialogue, both sides highlighted the progress made since the last Strategic Dialogue in Chisinau in March 2023, on advancing bilateral priorities including defense and security cooperation; Moldova’s progress toward EU integration and its reform agenda including justice sector reforms and anti-corruption policies; economic and energy security; and strengthened people-to-people ties.  The United States stands with Moldova in supporting its long-term democratic and economic reform efforts, as well as its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Moldova and the United States also discussed programs that help Moldova develop its national resilience and build capacity to defend its territory, protect its constitutional neutrality, and effectively manage and respond to crisis situations.  Since Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, Moldova has received nearly $75 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to bolster its defense capabilities.  The United States, through U.S. European Command, conducts regular exercises with the Moldovan National Army, building upon the strong partnership between Moldova and the State of North Carolina in the State Partnership Program.  Both countries highlighted the importance of this cooperation between Moldova and the State of North Carolina, extended for another five years on March 19, in Chisinau.  Looking ahead, we are resolute in our commitment to fostering deeper mutual respect and cooperation, as articulated in our joint strategic statement.

Through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) and Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS), Moldova’s border enforcement agencies have received tools and enhanced capacity development that have resulted in strengthened border communication and enforcement capabilities.  The United States is assisting Moldovan security forces in increasing their physical security and stockpile management of weapons and ammunition, as well as advising on how to defend against cyber threats.  Strengthened borders, more effective law enforcement, and improved weapons and ammunition management increases Moldovan and regional security.  The United States commended Moldova on the 30-year anniversary of Moldova’s participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program and on the 10-year anniversary of Moldova’s participation in the NATO KFOR Mission in Kosovo.

The United States also announced a new initiative to assist Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs to align its law enforcement academy more closely to international standards.  The $2.7 million INL-supported project will update firearm training methodologies, enhance firearms instructors’ knowledge and effectiveness, introduce new learning technology, and fully renovate and modernize the academy’s shooting range.  A stronger academy will promote more self-sufficient law enforcement entities, transformed and further professionalized into a well-equipped and well-trained force capable of better protecting and building trust with Moldovan citizens.

Moldova has made significant progress in the justice sector.  With support from the U.S. government, various projects have been implemented to promote justice sector reform and to build the capacity of the justice sector, including activities to boost the efficiency and performance of national courts, streamline judicial procedures, assist courts in developing and implementing quality management standards, and improve the Integrated Case Management system with courts.  Progress has also been made in strengthening the legal and institutional capacities in fighting corruption.  National institutions acknowledged the significant support provided by the U.S. government for the tools needed to investigate corruption cases.

The United States welcomed the European Council’s December 2023 decision to open accession negotiations with Moldova and recognition of Moldova’s progress in advancing the necessary reforms on their EU path.  The United States supports Moldova’s integration with the EU and the continued implementation of an ambitious reform agenda essential for the advancement towards this objective and for the benefit of the people of Moldova.

The two countries addressed Moldova’s management of the economic, energy, security, defense, and humanitarian impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine.  The United States remains the largest single-country donor to Moldova with more than $774 million of new economic, security, defense, and humanitarian assistance since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, to help Moldova manage the impacts from the war while maintaining progress on its democratic and anti-corruption reform agenda, advancing defense and security modernization, and promoting economic growth.  Assistance to help Moldova improve resilience to malign influence is also vital.

The United States thanked Moldova for continuing to welcome and protect refugees fleeing Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, and for the adoption of temporary protection status allowing refugees access to social programs and legal protections.  Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, over 1 million refugees passed through Moldova and 116,000 remain.  The United States has provided nearly $118 million in humanitarian aid to international partners working in Moldova to support both refugees and their Moldovan host communities.  The United States expressed its appreciation for Moldova’s support of Ukrainian transshipments and commended its leadership in the Danube Quint to facilitate the flow of Ukrainian grain to world markets in the aftermath of the July 2023 Russian withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.  Both sides reconfirmed their unwavering commitment to contribute to Ukraine’s reconstruction and discussed further cooperation opportunities.

Discussions also addressed Moldova’s upcoming Presidential elections and referendum on European integration later this year, and next year’s Parliamentary elections.  Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring free and fair elections in Moldova and to impeding Russia’s ongoing efforts to interfere in Moldova’s democratic institutions and electoral process.  Moldova expressed its appreciation for the U.S. sanctions announced in June 2023 and February 2024 against eight Russian and Moldovan citizens who attempted to subvert Moldova’s electoral processes through illegal vote buying and other activities.  Both sides expressed their commitment to further cooperation to bolster Moldova’s resilience and ability to effectively counter foreign malign influence.  Additional joint efforts will be undertaken to mitigate the negative impacts of foreign disinformation and propaganda under a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Chancellery of Moldova on signed by U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for the Global Engagement Center James Rubin countering foreign information manipulation in September 2023.

The United States and Moldova discussed human rights issues, including Moldova’s advancement of labor law reforms, which resulted in an upgraded assessment in the 2023 U.S. Department of Labor Report on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, as well as ongoing cooperation to promote human rights, address hate-based crimes, and protect vulnerable groups around the world.  Participants welcomed the diverse perspectives presented during the second annual U.S.-Moldova Strategic Dialogue Civil Society Platform in Chisinau on April 11, and emphasized the important role of civil society in advancing the bilateral relationship and people-to-people ties.

Moldova and the United States discussed energy security and economic development, highlighting the signing of the Open Skies Agreement in May 2023, and significant progress on securing Moldova’s energy security and diversification through the support of USAID.  Both sides committed to dedicate time, expertise, and authorities to quickly and effectively implement the proposed energy assistance projects, which include construction of a high-voltage energy transmission line to increase connectivity between Moldova and Romania and improve electricity grid stabilization and reserves capacity.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to collaborative efforts on transitioning to renewable sources of energy.  The delegations noted that, in April 2024, and for the first time, Moldova purchased U.S. natural gas and underscored that future U.S. natural gas deliveries will enhance both Moldova’s energy security and U.S.-Moldova bilateral trade relations.  Both sides discussed the “vertical corridor” which will leverage existing gas infrastructure to deliver non-Russian supplies routed from terminals in the Eastern Mediterranean to Ukraine and Moldova, and eventually from Ukraine to Central Europe.

Both sides also emphasized the critical importance of continued cybersecurity cooperation and digitalization in a way that protects individual privacy rights.  The United States recognized that the Republic of Moldova has made significant efforts to advance cybersecurity and embrace digitalization.  Acknowledging the evolving nature of cyber threats and the transformative power of digital technologies, the United States and Moldova expressed readiness to deepen collaboration in this area to ensure the security and prosperity of both nations.  Moldova expressed its interest to join the Counter Ransomware Initiative to build our common resilience to ransomware attacks and enhance partnerships among its members.

Moldova expressed enthusiasm for the 2023 return of Peace Corps volunteers to the country, noting the positive contributions of the more than 1,500 volunteers over the last 30 years to strengthening people-to-people ties between the two countries.

The Strategic Dialogue was hosted by the U.S. Department of State and included interagency and inter-ministerial representatives from both governments.  The U.S. delegation included representatives from the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Trade Representative.

The Moldovan delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalization, the Presidential Administration, and the Prime Minister’s Cabinet.

The United States and Moldova underscored their shared interest in continuing to build on the discussions during the Dialogue to advance further cooperation, rooted in our shared democratic values and common interests.  Both countries committed to hold the next meeting of the Strategic Dialogue in Chisinau, Moldova in 2025.

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Official news published at https://www.state.gov/joint-statement-on-u-s-moldova-strategic-dialogue/

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