Moldova's military agreements to help strengthen regional security

20/12/2013

New military agreements with Romania will help Moldova reach European military standards and strengthen regional security, analysts and officials say.

By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest -- 20/12/13

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Romania and Moldova are performing joint military exercises "concerning zonal and regional security." [AFP]

Recently signed military agreements between Romania and Moldova will help Chisinau in its European integration efforts, officials in Bucharest and Chisinau said.

The agreements represent one step forward in bilateral military relations, Romania's Defence Ministry said in a statement to SETimes.

"Romania supports a more active involvement of the Republic of Moldova in the activities and actions under the aegis of EU's Joint Security and Defence Policy as part of the European integration process," the ministry said.

The agreements are part of Chisinau's strategy to reform its military and co-operate with its neighbours. Moldova has signed 22 military co-operation agreements, most of them with European countries. The pacts include a December 5th agreement with Serbia, and a decision to send troops to the KFOR mission in Kosovo.

The first agreement with Romania envisages the protection of classified information the two countries exchange amid increased military co-operation, while the second better regulates Moldovan officers' training in Romania's military schools.

Authorities in Chisinau pointed out the agreements came in a crucial moment for the national army, which is undergoing reformation and modernisation.

"The signing of the agreements will enable us to do exchanges of information in the context of joint projects concerning zonal and regional security, prevention of crisis situations, which can occur in Europe," Moldova's Defence Minister Vitalie Marinuta told SETimes.

Marinuta said Romania's expertise is crucial for the former Soviet republic as it opens new perspectives of co-operation with potential partners in EU member states.

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"Signing these agreements with an EU member state also enables us to have access to certain information, important for the Republic of Moldova after initialling the association agreement with the EU, when we have to implement projects related to the European security," he said.

A partnership with Romania has a key role for Moldova in its European integration process and military co-operation is the main part of these efforts. The two agreements represent the latest phase of military co-operation, which started last year with a first intergovernmental agreement signed in Chisinau, the first such document signed after Romania joined NATO in 2004. The previous military agreement between Moldova and Romania dated back to 1992, one year after the former Soviet republic declared its independence.

Last year's agreement created a legal framework for bilateral military co-operation including defence planning, arms control, air space control, joint military drills, human resources and budget management, military intelligence and medical activities. A joint military committee was established to supervise the implementation of the agreement by holding yearly meetings. In October, the two countries' ground troops held a joint military exercise in Romania to enhance practical skills and exchange experience.

How do you think Moldova could benefit from joining EU security projects, and what is the importance of the country's contribution to regional security? Join the discussion below.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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