Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister and Russian Co-Chair of the Russian-Moldovan Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation Dmitry Rogozin, and Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov attended the meeting on behalf of Russia.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Dodon, colleagues,
As you know, this year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. Many events took place over these years, quite a few of them tragic, such as the Transnistria conflict.
It is in this context that we greatly value your efforts to normalise Russian-Moldovan relations. We can see that the process is not smooth but both the people of Moldova and the people of the Russian Federation are interested in a positive outcome.
I am glad to have this opportunity to discuss all aspects of our bilateral ties on the sidelines of the CIS summit.
President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon: Mr President, colleagues,
To begin with, I am very glad that it is almost exactly 10 months since we resumed the dialogue of our countries at the level of heads of state: the first meeting of presidents took place on January 17.
We made many positive changes over these 10 months but we also had problems that we must also discuss and assess objectively.
During this period Moldova has substantially increased exports – by over 17 percent in the first seven months of the year; exports of some items increased multiple times over – for example, 19 times more exports of grapes and three times more exports of apples.
Owing to our agreements – and I would like to thank you once again for this – the problem of migrants has been resolved. Tens of thousands received an opportunity to settle their problems and obtain legal status or come to the Russian Federation again.
Of course, there were problems as well because not everyone is happy that our strategic partnership has resumed. There were attempts both inside and outside the country to provoke our leaders into confrontation.
I must say that despite all this, we continue normal contacts at the level of MP groups. For instance, Zinaida Greceanii will meet with Mr Volodin tomorrow and is taking part in an important parliamentary event in St Petersburg.
During the next few weeks, we are planning to hold a meeting of the inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, which has not met for the past eight years. We have invited several dozen State Duma deputies to visit Moldova.
Delovaya Rossiya held a big event both in Moscow and Chisinau. Literally yesterday its Co-Chairman Igor Chaika was in Tiraspol and Comrat, and we had good meetings in Chisinau.
For the first time, the Moldovan delegation – over 400 young people – will take part in the youth festival in Sochi at the end of this week. We made sure they come from both the right and left banks.
Needless to say, we will discuss Transnistria in more detail. But I would like to thank you on behalf of the Moldovan people both from the left and right banks because in July of this year we marked the 25th anniversary of the peacekeeping operation.
This has been a successful operation, and I would like to thank you very much on behalf of the Moldovan people because the role of this peacekeeping operation in maintaining peace is very important.
Naturally, we had several meetings also with the leaders of Transnistria. We divide the resolution of all problems into two stages. We have a plan for resolving current issues. We drafted and submitted proposals on car licence plates because there is a risk that the Ukrainians will block the resolution of this issue.
We have set forth proposals on landlines and recognition of university diplomas. These are short-term issues, and they must be settled now. I hope we will do this in the next few weeks.
As for the mid- and long-term perspective and political settlement, we understand that it will be only possible to resume their discussion after the parliamentary elections that will take place in Moldova next year.
I am sure this will be a pro-Moldovan parliament that will be motivated to resolve this very important problem. The resolution of the Transnistria issue is a strategic task for me. This is important for everyone – for the regions and the residents of both the left and right banks.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Dodon, you have just mentioned certain decisions that were made during or as a result of our talks. I am referring to liberalisation related to labour migrants, opening certain segments of the Russian market for goods that are sensitive for Moldova’s economy, and some other matters.
I should say frankly that this was done not preemptively, so to speak, but to support your efforts to normalise Russian-Moldovan relations. We hope very much that people will see and appreciate this and will do all they can to support the forces in your country that are focused on further improving and developing Russian-Moldovan relations.
In the future, we will definitely be building our economic ties proceeding from the level of our political engagement. As of now, to reiterate, we would like to support your sincere intentions to restore and develop Russian-Moldovan relations.
For our part, we will also do our best to resolve the Transnistria conflict; you and I have repeatedly talked about that and we should certainly act as guarantors of the agreements that can and should eventually emerge in order to resolve this problem once and for all in the interest of the people living on that territory.
Igor Dodon: Mr President, the majority of citizens understand this very well and despite the provocations staged by the government and the parliamentary majority, they realise that the Russian Federation has taken a very balanced and wise approach toward these provocations.
Those were clear provocations because, believe me, hundreds of thousands of producers and those working in Russia, and not only those, are closely watching our meeting today.
Because there are circumstances, and certain people hope that there will be tougher attacks – well, not exactly attacks, but a response to the acts of lawlessness perpetrated by the Moldovan government against both migrants and exports.
I discussed this previously with Mr Rogozin in detail, when we met in Tehran: it is important that ordinary people are not affected. Over 60 percent of Moldovan citizens regard Russia as a friendly nation. All the efforts that have been made so far this year – people see them and see them in a positive light. On behalf of our citizens, once again thank you very much for this.
Vladimir Putin: We feel the same for Moldova.
Igor Dodon: Thank you very much.