18 February 1992. Historical meeting of Moldova's President Mircea Snegur with U.S. President George Bush
17:04 | 04.02.2021
Category: REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA: THREE DECADES OF INDEPENDENCE.
Retrospective of events
The high-level Moldovan-American meeting from 18 February 1992 meant the establishment of the inter-state relations between the strongest country of the world, the USA, and the new independent state, Republic of Moldova.
The Moldovan delegation’s trip to Washington was preceded by a flying visit to Chisinau of Secretary of State of the USA, James Baker. The Department of State, led by Baker, was thoroughly studying the evolution of the processes from the former Soviet republics. Moreover. The institution elaborated a string of principles which, in the Americans’ vision, were to define an independent and democratic state. Among these fundamental principles, there was the observance of the rule of law state and the citizens’ rights and freedoms, inviolability of the internationally recognized borders, settlement of conflicts by peaceful means.
J. Baker came to Chisinau on 10 February late in the evening. On the day after, he made, at his initiative, a walk in Chisinau, accompanied by Moldova’s foreign affairs minister, Nicolae Tau. After the walk, Baker expressed a positive opinion about our capital, noting that Chisinau had a European look.
At his meeting with President Snegur, the American Secretary of State repeated the USA’s principles which stay at the basis of the good relations with the newly independent states and in the end, in a fully unexpected way for the Moldovan officials, he handed Mr. Snegur an invitation by U.S. President George Bush to have a meeting with the Moldovan president at the White House on 18 February. This was an unexpected thing, as most of the new independent states had not benefitted from such an advantage as yet.
Moldova’s delegation was numerically modest and flew to Washington by passenger flights with stopover in Frankfurt. The Bush-Snegur meeting took place on 18 February – one with quite favourable consequences for Moldova. This is how Mircea Snegur describes the meeting in his book, The Labyrinth of Destiny: ‘’At the White House, we were expected by President George Bush. I found him consulting a small map, in order to ‘’detect’’ Moldova. He found his way about quickly with our help. He greeted us cordially, declaring himself impressed by the changes taking place in Moldova, especially the ones regarding the democratization and reformation of the society and economy and informed us that the USA had ruled to establish diplomatic relations with our country. Another important decision by the American authorities was the one on giving Moldova the most-favoured-nation clause,’’ the first Moldovan president wrote in his memories.
Even if President Snegur informed his American counterpart about the processes from Moldova, especially the ones concerning the democratization and the deep economic reform, he felt that George Bush was informed quite well. Following this meeting, Moldova was described by more American officials as ‘’the locomotive of reforms in the area of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).’’ Snegur recognizes that the meeting exceeded our expectations and the feeling that you won a sincere and very strong friend was extremely optimistic for the future relations.
With this feeling, Moldova’s delegation appeared before numerous journalists who assembled at the White House. The most important message conveyed by Snegur was that, from now on, Moldova would have diplomatic relations with the USA and the place of our country on map had become quite well-known at the White House. One of the journalists asked if the subject on Moldova’s union with Romania had been tackled at the meeting. The president plainly answered that the USA firmly believed that this issue was exclusively within the competence of Moldova and Romania. A string of meetings followed, including at the U.S. Congress, with the president of the subcommittee on the affairs of Europe and Middle East, Lee Hamilton, who informed the Chisinau delegation about the attitude of the American lawmakers towards the newly independent states, especially towards Moldova.
Obviously, the Bush-Snegur meeting laid the foundations of the bilateral relations between the countries. At that time, the Americans had a great hope that Moldova would go the way of democracy and freedom. This is how Mircea Snegur was describing the results of the visit to the White House in February 1992: ‘’On the sidelines of our visit to Washington, the American media wrote on that days that the receiving of the undersigned (Mircea Snegur –our note) represented a clear-cut signal that Chisinau’s policy was enjoying the support of the United States. The subsequent concrete actions of the USA, in this respect, confirmed these findings. I believe that, at that time, on 18 February 1992, the true discovery of America by Moldova took place,’’ Mircea Snegur said.
Certainly, that event had a strong symbolic and emotional importance. Yet, ever more worrying signs were emerging at the political horizon of Moldova. The war in Moldova’s eastern districts, the coming to power of anti-reforming forces for a long period of time, the interminable transition accompanied by poverty and other needs occurred in Moldova in the next years. Nevertheless, in the most difficult times, our country felt the support of the American partner, which in all circumstances acted in the spirit of the agreements from 18 February 1992.
Chisinau, 2 February /MOLDPRES/.