Moldovan president's message addressed to diplomatic corps
17:20 | 15.01.2021 Category: Official
Chisinau, 15 January /MOLDPRES/ - Dear members of the diplomatic corps,
This year, I would like us to start a new page in Moldova’s history and I am happy to have now this discussion with you, directly, without intermediaries.
This is a good opportunity for us to reflect on our role as country, to review the state of our foreign policy, of the diplomatic service, as well as to exchange opinions, better know each other, in order to promote together, in the next four years, the interests of our country and citizens.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the professional Day of the Diplomat, which we mark on 17 January. On this day, 29 years ago, Moldova undertook one of the first diplomatic actions – submitted an application on joining the United Nations Organization – a thing which gave us access to a global platform of approach and taking of decisions on the challenges faced by the international community and us, as part of it. So far, the diplomatic decisions which we assume have been deciding our way and role in the complexity of interactions which we have with other states.
The diplomacy is not an easy service. It needs special capacities, much work, permanent self-perfection, knowledge of the external world, as well as much patience. Results are achieved only in this way. I wish you success and substantial results in Moldova’s foreign policy.
Secondly, this is a fit occasion to share with you the visions I have as to the foreign policy of Moldova, so that we start a comprehensive process of consultations, necessary in order to rethink it.
Before speaking about the foreign policy, about our priorities as country and about the mandate given by the citizens in terms of foreign policy, I would like to start with the situation in the country. You know well that the foreign policy starts with the domestic realities. Namely the domestic realities represent that very base on which a diplomacy can be efficient or, on the contrary, can be pushed to a state of incapacity.
During more years, you have had to represent a country about which they were speaking, to a great extent, only badly – about the one-billion-dollar theft, about money laundering operations, about MPs who sell themselves, about corruption at the highest level, about anti-democratic regime. It is extremely difficult to promote your country in such conditions.
The situation remains difficult in continuation. The decisions taken by the government and parliament in last December were aimed at weakening the state’s institutions and creating a blockage, in order to trigger an even bigger economic and social crisis. You, while discussing with foreign partners, see the reaction of many of them to these events triggered by some representatives of the Moldovan political establishment – they vary from perplexity to disapproval.
These attempts to set fire on the country are overlapped on that international isolation in which the former decision-makers threw Moldova through their irresponsible decisions. I here I mean the former president and the former so-called ‘’coordinator’’ – both of them represent a bad spot on the international reputation of our country. Or, you cannot have an efficient and reliable foreign policy, if you do not have an efficient and reliable domestic policy. You cannot achieve great success internationally, cannot attract foreign investments, cannot get assistance and cannot promote your country, if the politicians at home are very corrupt, if they give each other money in bags, if their own pocket is more important than the country for them.
These shameful pages from the history of our country obviously hit also the image and prestige of the Moldovan diplomatic service, entailed bad consequences for the country’s international reliability. The pursuit for diplomatic selfies recorded shameful pages for our diplomacy; yet, I assure you that I, in my capacity of president, will do my utmost to re-bring the respect for Moldova on the international stage.
On the immediately next period, we have two key goals:
The first one is the fight against corruption. Everywhere. In all state’s institutions. The schemes through which some employees of the diplomatic corps make money must disappear. Just as the most recent examples show it, these schemes, besides the damages to the public budget and interest, also produce vulnerabilities dealing with the state’s employees hostages of the interests of criminal rings with political representation. I have a personal message to those who are involved in such schemes - stop now. Do not put the diplomatic service and your colleagues in complicated situations. The unlawful actions will be toughly sanctioned.
The second goal deals with the strengthening of the state’s institutions, including of the institutions in charge of ensuring the foremost interest of a state – security. We can have an international policy which brings maximal benefits to our country only with functional institutions in the security and diplomacy sectors.
Thus, my key priority, as president, as well as the mandate explicitly given by the citizens is for us to make proper order at home. To everybody manage this, we will need a maximal synchronization between the foreign and the domestic policy. Here, the support of the diplomatic service will be quite important to improve the situation in the country.
Traditionally, when we speak about the foreign policy, we think about our foreign partners. And I will certainly speak about the relations with our partners. Yet, before doing this, I want us to speak about ourselves – as country and society. It is very important for us to conceive the foreign policy not only just as activities of interaction with other states, but also as a string of instruments and activities meant to improve the situation in our country and the citizens’ living.
Therefore, a central objective of our foreign policy will be to develop a foreign policy in the interest of the citizens. This is not a mere slogan. This is the essence of the foreign policy. The pandemic has showed us this in excess. Our citizen, even if he/she is far from the country, needs us, Moldova maybe more than he/she would need the state’s help when at home.
Another key priority of the foreign policy is to offer a maximally friendly context to the domestic developments – reforms, fight against corruption, overcoming the COVID pandemic, as well as the economic effects of this pandemic.
And here we have several dimensions on which I believe it is quite important for us to focus:
I will start with the economic diplomacy: In this family of priorities, I would like to note that it is quite important for us to promote the products from our country. We have products of quite good quality, we have free trade zones with EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and we must make constant effort to improve the promotion of our exports.
The promotion of these exports means jobs at home. I know that often the economic diplomacy is a kind of activity somehow auxiliary for the diplomatic services from more countries. Yet, here I want to say you that no state has managed to become stable and prosperous without an active and efficient economic diplomacy. Therefore, I would like to emphasize that the promotion of exports, investments’ attraction, working out and development of infrastructure projects must become equally important for the work of the Foreign Affairs Ministry as the negotiation of treaties, agreements or management of international political contracts.
Another essential dimension deals with the relations with the Diaspora and the consular services.
Our Diaspora is we. These are those who left forcibly or voluntarily, to look for education of better quality, bigger income sources to maintain the family and children left at home, better and more diverse professional opportunities, as well to seek a better living, where they are respected and appreciated for what they are, for the efforts and work carried out.
It is absolutely inadmissible for us to divide the citizens according to the ethnic, linguistic criteria or according to the place of residence – in Moldova or abroad, in the East or in the West. The division of the society through political slogans of the kind ‘’parallel world’’ and treating the citizens exclusively through the light of one’s own electoral needs does not contribute to cohesion. Such unworthy epithets used by bankrupt political actors must be cut off from the political language. We must work for unity.
You cannot divide our citizens in the Diaspora and non-Diaspora. We are a whole. The Diaspora is one body and soul with the rest of the country. And I ask you to be guided of this reason in the interaction with our citizens from abroad.
Our embassies and consulates must take care of the citizens and provide quality services – this is an essential mission of the diplomatic service. People should find a support in our embassies; get assistance as easy as possible.
As for the consular services, I will ask you to resume the work of facilitating the consular procedures launched in 2019, when I was at the government. On 13 January, I had a first discussion with key institutions on this subject, as well as with active representatives of the Diaspora, in order to identify the principal problems and to understand how we can back them through better consular services. On the next days, we will set up a working group, the goal of which will be the simplification of consular procedures.
Before switching to a deeper discussion on our relations with the partner countries and international organizations, I would like to thank you for the effort you proved in organizing the repatriation of Moldovan citizens blocked abroad because of the pandemic, resuming the goods transport, holding of presidential elections abroad. I know that it was not easy at all, that joint efforts were necessary of the Central Office and the diplomats from missions, in order to be able, in the conditions of the Covid-19 crisis, to carry out all these actions. I ask you, on this occasion, to convey the best thoughts to your families as well. I know that the close people face certain difficulties because of the specific character of your work.
Returning to the situation on the international stage and here the most important goal is to maintain an international context as constructive and peaceful as possible as regards Moldova. We live in a complicated region, with much tension, inter-state hostilities, even open wars between world’s states. We are everybody monitor these developments, but we know well that we are, at the same time, a neutral state and it is important for us to do our utmost to avoid and minimize the risks of diplomatic, economic and other kinds of conflicts for our country. We must build as positive as possible relations with all partners.
And here I am happy to inform that we have managed, in just several weeks, to de-block the relations with our neighbours and our strategic partners, Romania and Ukraine. After a period when the relations at the highest level were frozen, because of the hostile policy of the Moldovan governors both against Romania and against Ukraine, we managed to re-launch the process of political dialogue with these two friendly countries. We agreed on edifying more connections with Romania, bridges and joint projects which help consolidate Moldova as state, as well as would allow us anchoring in the European Union. In Ukraine, I had a very good visit this week and I thank the colleagues who contributed to this.
Now, we will have a lot of work to do for this political dialogue to yield as many concrete results as possible. I believe that a great deal of our diplomatic efforts must be focused namely on the edification of this ‘’circle of trust’’ – Romania- Moldova – Ukraine. I think that this cross-border, regional partnership can bring serious benefits to our countries and citizens. The good-neighbour relations will generate a positive impact also in the relations with other foreign partners of Moldova. We must take maximal efforts, generate new ideas, identify points of growth and advantageous mutual interests.
I want us to use these good relations, this good-neighbour relation, in order to construct as many bridges as possible – both in direct and figurative senses. Diplomatic bridges, cultural bridges, education ones, as well as energy, road, railway bridges, relations of electric networks, coordination and assistance in combating the COVID pandemic and bridges between our institutions and societies.
Another important partner with which we need a resetting of our relations is the European Union. You remember better than anyone that, in 2018, EU ceased a good deal of its assistance provided to Moldova because of the anti-democratic abuses from Chisinau and in 2020, the European Union was attacked and insulted more times by the pseudo-governors from Chisinau. On these days, we overcome these shameful pages from the history of our diplomacy. In several days, you know, I will go to Brussels. Yet, a more important thing is for us to wish to re-launch the process of Moldova’s rapprochement with EU through democratic and economic reforms, which is to transform Moldova into a European state. A state with European institutions, with European schools, with European hospitals, with European roads, with a European future, which work exclusively in the interest of all citizens.
Certainly, we want to bring Moldova in the European Union; yet, it is quite important for us to preserve good, cordial relations with other partners of our country.
As far as Russia is concerned, you know that we have a complex relation. A relation in which we have many fields in which we cooperate; we have many fellow countrymen who live in Russia; we have traditional commercial relations, as well as several sectors in which we have also differences of opinions and interests. Yet, here I want to remind that we want to overcome these problems through dialogue, mutual respect and a constructive relation. Such a relation obviously implies also the respect for our neutrality, including through the overcoming of the situation we find ourselves both in the Transnistrian settlement process and the one dealing with the presence of Russian troops on the territory of our country. But the achievement of these goals can be made through dialogue and partnership relations. I will personally do my utmost for us to have a good relation with Russia. Obviously, this does not depend only on Moldova, but also on our partners. Our objective is to edify a mutually respectful and advantageous relation with the Russian Federation.
We have a very good partnership with the United States, which in all these years has helped us consolidate the independence and sovereignty of the country. Develop the country’s democracy, infrastructure, economy and institutions. Yet, this also implies that we, as country, contribute to this partnership with what we can, including by political or diplomatic solidarity on the subjects of international policy in which our interests coincide and the USA relies on the support of other partner countries.
Obviously, in this context, I want to warn on how important is for us to be open for the opportunities offered by the cooperation with other countries – China, Turkey, Israel, where we have many citizens or with which we have important trade relations, as well as with regions unfortunately less explored by our foreign policy, such as the Arab states, India and other countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Dear diplomats, employees of the Central Office, ambassadors and personnel of embassies,
The international context, as well as the national one has such a character, that the success of all the aforementioned things – re-bringing Moldova on the international agenda, preserving a non-conflict environment which would allow us ensure the domestic transformations, fight against corruption, overcoming the epidemic, as well as its consequences, interaction with the Diaspora, as well as the quality of consular services – depends, to a great extent, namely on your performance. Most of you are career diplomats, respected professionals and you can do your job with dedication – I made sure of this on diverse occasions.
Obviously, to achieve all these ambitious goals, we need a functional, well-endowed, motivated and respected Foreign Affairs Ministry. Without your dedication, motivation and patriotism, we will not be able to achieve a lot. Through the mandate given by the citizens, I can assure you that you enjoy the support of the citizens, who certainly do not want a state with conflicts abroad and hit by corruption inside. We everybody want an as strong and integral, as dynamic and respected ministry as possible.
How can we achieve this? I say you – we need to promote to offices professional staff exclusively according to criteria of meritocracy. I know that there more uncovered positions of ambassador; I know that more diplomats have been expecting a well-deserved promotion for a while. The consolidation of the ministry’s team depends on the staff policy.
I have to highlight, although this makes me no pleasure, certain problems on which the diplomatic services came across, including recently, cases publicized in the national and international media. Such situations do not give a good account of ourselves as institution, as diplomatic system, as country. Yet, I am sure that such problems are exceptions. It is important that the abuses of such individuals are punished and an entire ministry should not be made responsible for them.
We expect a hard period, especially as we have no access to resources which would allow us being more present, more active. Nevertheless, please, let us try to mobilize new resources, attract the Diaspora in actions of promoting the country abroad, be present not only by explaining our domestic problems, but also through presenting opportunities offered by Moldova – as a less known country, picturesque country, with special cultural values, with good and hospitable people. Each of you is an ambassador of our country, no matter the office you hold and I would like you to everybody feel this. You should be proud of the country from where you come and which you represent. For this, we must work together, set our imagination in motion and carry out nice ideas through joint efforts. At the Ministry, at the embassies and at the Presidency – together. You have my every support as President to come up with innovating ideas, on how can we promote the country’s image more efficiently, what can we learn from other countries in terms of promoting our image and how can we be better connected to the international community.
I would like to end here, dear diplomats, with the best wishes. I wish you an as good year as possible, efficient work, dedication and much success on the professional dimension. Remember that your success is the success of the Republic of Moldova.