Moldova’s outgoing president, Nicolae Timofti, said his country’s constitutionally mandated neutrality is “invalid as long as forces of the Russian Federation are present on the territory of Transdniester contrary to our will.”
Speaking to foreign ambassadors in Chisinau on November 18, Timofti also said the country’s neutrality does not prevent the government from modernizing its defense and security capabilities through cooperation with NATO.
He said the NATO-Moldova Individual Partnership Action Plan had provided many benefits in such areas as environmental safety, training for peacekeeping missions, and military reform.
Russia has maintained military forces in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniester since the region fought a brief military conflict with Chisinau in 1992.
The Moldovan government has repeatedly called for their removal and for an international peacekeeping mission to be created.
Earlier this month, Moldova elected pro-Russia Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon as president.
With reporting by Interfax