Russian President Vladimir Putin Will Hold A Meeting With His Moldovan Counterpart


Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting with his Moldovan counterpart

Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting with his Moldovan counterpart, Igor Dodon, on Saturday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 07th September, 2019) Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting with his Moldovan counterpart, Igor Dodon, on Saturday.

Russia and Moldova established diplomatic relations on April 6, 1992. Today, the two countries' bilateral relations are underpinned by over 180 treaties and other legal documents.

On November 19, 2001, Russia and Moldova signed the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation, which entered into force on May 13, 2002. The treaty's preamble included provisions on a bilateral strategic partnership between the two states, as well as on Russia's role as a mediator and guarantor of the political settlement of the Transnistrian issue. In November 2011, the treaty was extended by 10 more years.

The relations between Moscow and Chisinau worsened in the summer of 2014 when the Moldovan parliament ratified the association agreement with the European Union, signed by the government in Brussels. The ruling Democratic Party pursued a clear anti-Russian policy. In 2017, the Moldovan government undertook a series of anti-Russian measures, in particular, banned all its officials from traveling to Russia, expelled Russian diplomats, journalists, public figures and artists, and declared Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin persona non grata.

In mid-December 2017, Moldova's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration recalled the country's Ambassador to Russia, Andrei Negutsa, for consultations for an indefinite period. He eventually returned to work in March 2018.

On January 2, 2018, the Moldovan parliament registered an initiative to withdraw Moldova from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). On January 10, 2018, the speaker of Moldova's parliament, Andrian Candu, signed a bill forbidding the rebroadcast of Russian news.

In March, Chisinau joined the anti-Russian campaign launched by the United Kingdom in the wake of the incident in Salisbury, when former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were subjected to a nerve agent attack, by announcing the expulsion of three Russian diplomats.

In June 2019, the pro-Russian Socialist party and the pro-European ACUM bloc formed a parliamentary majority in Moldova � the country received a new government. In July, the Moldovan government lifted a ban on official visits to Russia.

The Moldovan president stands for the restoration of a strategic partnership with Russia, but his powers in the implementation of this goal are limited by the constitution. The parliament and the government appointed by it block most of the president's initiatives.

From January 16-18, 2017, Dodon paid an official visit to Moscow at Putin's invitation. The visit to Moscow became Dodon's first foreign trip, with the negotiations having become the first high-level talks between the two countries since 2009.

On March 17, Dodon arrived in Moscow at the invitation of the All Russia Public Organization to participate in the business forum Russia-Moldova: New Growth Points. During his visit, Dodon was received by Putin in the Kremlin.

Subsequently, Putin and Dodon met on the margins of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, and then in Sochi in October and at the Russian presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, located in the Moscow Region, in December.

On May 14, 2018, Putin and Dodon met at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting in Sochi, where Moldova was granted the status of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) observer state.

On July 14, Moscow hosted another meeting of the leaders of Russia and Moldova.

Dodon attended the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on June 14 in Moscow and the final game of the World Cup on July 15, which was also held in the Russian capital.

On September 28, Putin and Dodon had a brief conversation on the sidelines of the meeting of the CIS Heads of State Council.

On October 31, Dodon paid an official visit to Russia. During the high-level talks, Putin and Dodon touched upon matters relating to the Russian-Moldovan cooperation in the trade, economic and humanitarian spheres and discussed urgent regional problems.

From November 20-25, Dodon visited Russia again. In Moscow, he met with Russian State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, delivered a speech at the lower house's plenary session, and also took part in the work of the Moldovan-Russian Economic Council. As part of the trip, he also met with compatriots in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

On December 6, Dodon took part in an expanded meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in St. Petersburg, and then in an informal CIS summit.

On May 29, 2019, Putin and Dodon held a meeting on the sidelines of the summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan.

On June 21, Minsk hosted a meeting between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Dodon.

On June 24, Dmitry Kozak, Russian deputy prime minister and special presidential representative for the development of trade and economic relations with Moldova, paid a working visit to Moldova, where he held talks with the president of the republic, the parliament's speaker, Zinaida Greceanii, and Prime Minister Maia Sandu.

On June 27, a delegation of the Moldovan parliament, headed by Greceanii, paid a working visit to Moscow. The delegation held meetings with Medvedev, Volodin and with the speaker of the upper house of the parliament, Valentina Matviyenko. During the visit, Greceanii also spoke at the plenary meeting of the State Duma.

On July 17, Dodon paid a brief working visit to Moscow, during which he met with Kozak to discuss an issue regarding gas.

On August 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Chisinau to participate in the 75th anniversary of the country's liberation from fascism. During the celebrations, Dodon and Shoigu laid flowers at the mass graves of Soviet soldiers who died during the liberation of Moldova in 1944.

On September 2, Dodon paid a working visit to Moscow and held a meeting with Kozak and Alexey Miller, head of Russia's Gazprom gas giant.

The long-term development of Moldovan-Russian economic relations is determined by the Economic Cooperation Program for 2009-2020, which was signed by the two countries in Chisinau on November 14, 2008. The program's implementation is monitored by the Moldovan-Russian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation, which has been in operation since 1996. The commission's last meeting was held in Moscow in November 2016.

Russia and Moldova agreed to resume the work of the intergovernmental commission in 2019, with its first meeting to be held on September 19.

Trade between the two countries was damaged by Moldova signing the association agreement with the European Union in September 2014. According to the agreement, Moldova had to open up its market to EU goods. Russia, for fear of the re-export of the EU goods from Moldova, imposed a temporary ban on the imports of certain Moldovan goods.

As a result, bilateral trade has halved over the past several years. In 2012, according to the Moldovan National Bureau of Statistics, Russia's share in the republic's foreign trade was about 20 percent ($1.45 billion), and in 2017 it fell to 11.3 percent ($0.74 billion).

Beginning on January 1, 2019, Russia abolished import duties on a number of Moldovan goods, such as vegetables, grapes and other fruits, canned food and wine products. At the end of June, the Russian government extended the duty-free trade with Moldova until the end of 2019.

In 2018, the Russian-Moldovan trade amounted to $1.5 billion, with Russian exports totaling $1.2 billion, and imports reaching $355.5 million.

In the first six months of 2019, the trade between the two countries totaled to about $818.1 million, including $635.5 million in Russian exports and $182.6 million in imports.

Russia's primary exports to Moldova are mineral products, chemicals, food and agricultural commodities, machinery, equipment, vehicles and more. Russian imports from Moldova include food and agricultural commodities, machinery, equipment, vehicles, textile goods and footwear.

In September 2018, the first Moldovan-Russian Economic Forum was held in Chisinau. The forum was attended by over 700 people, including politicians and businessmen from Russia, Moldova and the EAEU member countries, as well as international experts. As a result of the forum, the parties signed seven agreements on foreign direct investment in the Moldovan economy.

The second edition of the forum is scheduled to take place in Chisinau from September 20-21, 2019.

For many years, Russia has been the largest investor in the Moldovan economy; its total direct investment is about $800 million. The energy, wine and processing industries are the main areas of investments.

Russia and Moldova are engaged in an active dialogue on migration issues. In 2017, Moscow and Chisinau announced the so-called migration amnesty for Moldovans who did not comply with the authorized limit for their stay in Russia. About 30,000 people used this possibility to return home.

On December 3, 2018, the Russian Interior Ministry once again announced migration amnesty for Moldovan citizens. Those who overstayed in Russia longer than the period permitted will be able to avoid administrative responsibility and return to Moldova during the period from January 1 to February 24, 2019.

According to the Moldovan presidential administration, 357,000 officially registered Moldovans are currently living in Russia. Their actual number in Russia is much higher.

In 2018, according to the National Bank of Moldova, Russia ranked first in terms of money transfers from abroad to Moldova.

The two countries have been maintaining cultural cooperation since as far back as February 2009, when the Russian Center of Science and Culture opened in Chisinau.

The Russian community in Moldova, which has been contributing to the development of historical traditions between the two peoples, receives comprehensive assistance in the country. The Russians in Moldova are, in particular, being assisted by the local authorities in receiving a higher and secondary education.

The year of 2019 is declared the Year of Moldova in Russia, and 2020 will be the Year of Russia in Moldova.

At the same time, Russia is concerned over the decision of the Constitutional Court of Moldova adopted on June 4, 2018, to revise a law, which determines the status of the Russian language as the language of interethnic communication in the country. The decision suggested, in particular, discontinuing the translation of adopted laws into Russian and abolishing the right of citizens to address the country's authorities in the Russian language.

The problems in the Transnistrian settlement, ongoing attempts to exert economic pressure on Transnistria, and the challenges that Russian business is facing in the region are seen as destabilizing factors that negatively affect the social status of about 180,000 Russian citizens living in the region.

Being a guarantor and mediator in the negotiation process on the Transnistrian settlement, Russia has been advocating an effective solution to the conflict.

The international peacekeeping forces in Transnistria include Russian servicemen, with Moscow making a substantial contribution to maintaining regional stability in Transnistria. The 5+2 talks on the Transnistria peace settlement involve Moldova and Transnistria as the parties of the conflict, and Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as mediators, with the European Union and the United States being observers. Another round of the 5+2 negotiations was held in Rome from May 29-30, 2018. The next round of negotiations in the 5+2 format is scheduled to take place in Bratislava, Slovakia, from October 8-10, 2019.

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