Israel's Foreign Minister: We appreciate progress Moldova made on path to European integration, despite challenging situation in region
18:00 | 08.08.2023 Category: Interview, Event
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel Eli Cohen gave an interview to MOLDPRES State News Agency, in which he spoke about Moldovan-Israeli relations, investments, areas of cooperation and the extradition of former Moldovan MP Ilan Shor. The interview was given in the context of the official's visit to Chisinau on August 7-8.
MOLDPRES: The diplomatic relations between Moldova and Israel were set up in 1992. Your visit to our country is a good opportunity to boost the bilateral relations. What are the main issues on the agenda and priorities in future cooperation?
Eli Cohen: I am happy to visit Moldova after over a decade since the last Israeli foreign minister's visit. Israel and Moldova share common democratic values, vibrant civil society and free and modern economy.
I hope this visit will boost our bilateral relations in all spheres. The purpose of my visit is to strengthen the relations between Moldova and Israel, with a particular focus on enhancing economic ties, which hold great potential, that was not yet fully explored.
We also aim to address issues such as water and agriculture technologies which we know are of interest to your country. In addition, we plan to engage in political discussions, that include regional security challenges that pose threats to stability, including terrorism and the situation in Iran.
We commend the progress Moldova made on its path toward European integration, despite the challenging situation in the region.
MOLDPRES: What are the main sectors of Israel's assistance and investment in Moldova for the next years, which would bring closer and further develop the relations between the countries?
Eli Cohen: I estimate that the main sectors of cooperation between Israel & Moldova will include, Agriculture and Water technologies, Energy efficiency, IT and Innovation.
Moldova is currently undergoing an important process of conforming to the standards of the European Union. While Israel is not an EU member, we are happy to share our experience in the field of adapting to international standards. We are confident that Moldova will become one of Israel's valued allies in the European Union in the future.
MOLDPRES: Moldova and Israel began discussing the option of signing a Free Trade Agreement. The discussions were held in late July in Jerusalem, during a meeting between Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Israel Alexandr Roitman and Minister of Economy of Israel Nir Barkat. such agreement is expected to significantly boost bilateral trade. When could this Agreement be signed and implemented and what would be the most competitive Moldovan products on the Israeli market?
Eli Cohen: We still have a long way to go. First it is necessary to deepen the economic relations between our countries, including exchange of delegations and professional visits.
This year, for example, we have two significant events taking place in Israel that highlight advanced technologies in agriculture and a Renewable Energy Conference. We encourage participants from your private and public sectors to take part in these and other economic events.
MOLDPRES: What is the level of cooperation between the legal institutions in Israel and those in our country to extradite former Moldovan MP Ilan Shor sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraud and money laundering in the "bank fraud" case? Have the necessary mechanisms been identified so that he can be extradited to Moldova in order to be brought to justice?
Eli Cohen: There is excellent cooperation between our legal authorities. This matter is of a legal nature, so naturally, I cannot elaborate on the issue in more detail, but I assure you we take such issues, as our bilateral relations at large, with utmost seriousness and respect.
MOLDPRES: How real is it that soon an international agreement will be signed between Moldova and Israel in the social protection and security, given that a lot of Moldovan citizens work in Israel, and more and more Israeli students are opting for medical studies here in Chisinau?
Eli Cohen: I'm happy to share, that we have recently concluded discussions on expanding the agreement regarding Temporary Employment of Workers from Moldova in Israel, covering Home-Based Caregivers, ensuring the protection of the rights of Moldovan citizens working in Israel. The agreements awaiting signature, as soon as the Moldovan procedures are finished.
I can share with you that we have one more agreement awaiting signature, the Agreement on the Exchange of Driving Licenses, that will allow Israeli and Moldovan tourists to freely drive in both countries. This important agreement is to be signed by our minister of transportation at the earliest opportunity.
To conclude, my visit to Moldova is a wonderful opportunity to further develop our bilateral relations, through dialogue, economic cooperation and people-to-people connections. a strong and prosperous future for the relations between the peoples of Moldova and Israel.
MOLDPRES: Thank you for the interview!