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Moldova - Foreign Relations

The Republic of Moldova is landlocked, bounded by Ukraine on the east and Romania to the west. The geopolitical situation in the region where the Republic of Moldova is situated can be characterised, in general, as a stable one. The Republic of Moldova is surrounded by friendly countries - Romania and Ukraine - countries, which officially do not have claims on Moldovan territory.

Owing to its small size, geographic location, and lack of resources, Moldova is bound to be subject to significant international forces and pressures. Its chosen policy of neutrality exempts it from much of the tugging and hauling over security alignment which has in the recent past so affected post-Soviet countries such as Georgia and Ukraine. Only one major political party (the pro-Romanian PL) advocates a revision of this policy and a bid to join the NATO alliance. There is barely any public support for such a shift, or for the alternative of joining the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and no movement toward signing on to any military bloc. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has had a mission in Moldova since 1993 and is chiefly occupied with the Transnistria problem.

The residual relationship with Russia still counts for a lot in Moldova. Russian troops guard the gates to Transnistria. Moldova is a cooperative member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to which Russia and 10 post-Soviet neighbors belong. Russian media and cultural products are plentiful everywhere in the country. Numerous Moldovan migrants work in Russia, and the Russian Orthodox Church is a major presence in the spiritual sphere. CIS countries accounted in 2011 for 41 percent of Moldovan foreign-trade exports (two-thirds of that to Russia) and 33 percent of Moldovan imports (half of that from Russia). All of these connections matter, but none gives the Kremlin much by way of direct influence over Moldovan politics and government. The PCRM might have seemed a natural ally, but Vladimir Voronins relationship with Moscow never recovered from his last-minute rejection in 2004 of the Kozak Plan for settlement of the Transnistria conflict through federalization.

The relations between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are apparently free of the emotional load characteristic to the relations with Romania and the Russian Federation. Ukraine has no disagreements of historical, linguistic, religious or identity nature with Moldova.

Moldova has accepted all relevant arms control obligations of the former Soviet Union. On October 30, 1992, Moldova ratified the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment and provides for the destruction of weapons in excess of those limits. It acceded to the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in October 1994 and to the Biological Weapons Convention in December 2004. It does not have nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Moldova joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Partnership for Peace on March 16, 1994. Due to Moldova's constitutional neutrality, it is not a participant in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS -- a group of 12 former Soviet republics) Collective Security Agreement.

Moldova's Parliament approved the country's membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States and a CIS charter on economic union in April 1994. In 1995, the country became the first former Soviet republic admitted to the Council of Europe. In addition to its membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace, Moldova also belongs to the United Nations, the OSCE, the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Moldova is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In 1998, Moldova contributed to the founding of GUAM, a regional cooperative agreement made up of Georgia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan, in addition to Moldova. Although the agreement initially included a declaration of mutual defense, Moldova has since declared its disinterest in participating in any GUAM-based mutual defense initiative. Moldova has been involved in information exchange, trade and transportation, border control, and energy projects issues within this regional agreement. In 2006, the organization's members voted to change the name to the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development - GUAM.

The existing legal and institutional framework governing the relations of Moldova with the European Union (EU), namely the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and the Moldova-EU Action Plan, does not envisage the perspective of joining the EU, regardless of the level of implementation of the Action Plan. In 2005, the European Union appointed a Special Representative for Moldova and the European Commission opened an office in Chisinau. In February 2005, Brussels and Chisinau agreed on a European Union-Moldova Action Plan, a "roadmap" of reforms to strengthen the democratic and economic situation of the country and facilitate its Euro-Atlantic integration. In accordance with the 2005 Action Plan, Moldova has begun to harmonize its laws with those of the EU. Since December 2005, Moldova has worked with an EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) along its Ukrainian border to crack down on smuggling, strengthen customs procedures, and facilitate cross-border cooperation. Although Moldova has made some progress toward laying the structural and legislative foundation for reform, the EU has emphasized that more implementation is needed. In 2008, the EU proposed a new Eastern Partnership that would substantially upgrade the level of political engagement with Moldova and five other countries in the EU "neighborhood", including the prospect of a new generation of Association Agreements and increased financial assistance.

Moldova benefits from comparatively lavish funding from international sources. Out of 1.9 billion euros pledged for 201113, 49 percent was from international organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the UN and its agencies. The ECs contribution summed to 28 percent and that of individual EU countries, led by Romania and the German GIZ, to 10 percent.

In 2005, the Republic of Moldova adopted a political decision to recommence on a new level its relations with the North-Atlantic Alliance. During his visit to Brussels, President Vladimir Voronin spelled out the official position on the perspective of relations with NATO. The Moldovan authorities never enjoyed a more favorable internal political climate to advance relations with the Alliance. In these circumstances, the political leadership of the country set up the goal of launching, starting with June 2006, the process of implementing the Republic of Moldova-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP). Moldova became the sixth country to join this mechanism of cooperation with NATO. According to this Plan, the main strategic objectives of the Republic of Moldova are: integration into the EU as well as enhanced dialog and relations with the Euro-Atlantic structures. Due to its neutrality status, the Republic of Moldova does not pursue through IPAP the objective of joining NATO,

In the atmosphere of heightened international sensitivity to terrorism following the events of September 11, 2001, Moldova has been a supporter of American efforts to increase international cooperation in combating terrorism. Moldova has sent demining units and peacekeepers to participate in post-conflict humanitarian assistance in Iraq.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and created the opportunity to build bilateral relations with the 15 new states that had made up the former U.S.S.R. as they began political and economic transformation. The United States recognized the independence of Moldova on December 25, 1991 and opened an Embassy in its capital, Chisinau, in March 1992.

A trade agreement providing reciprocal most-favored-nation tariff treatment became effective in July 1992. An Overseas Private Investment Corporation agreement, which encourages U.S. private investment by providing direct loans and loan guarantees, was signed in June 1992. A bilateral investment treaty was signed in April 1993. Generalized system of preferences status was granted in August 1995, and some Eximbank coverage became available in November 1995.

In 2006, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approved Moldova's $24.7 million Threshold Country Plan to combat corruption. The MCC also ruled that Moldova is eligible to apply for full compact assistance, and the Moldovan Government submitted its compact proposal in 2008. In November 2008, MCC and the Government of Moldova signed an agreement to move forward with feasibility studies to determine how best to proceed with proposed road rehabilitation and agriculture projects. These studies will help ensure that the projects proposed by Moldova will significantly contribute to economic development and poverty reduction.

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