Moldova’s newly elected Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet has appealed to the Russian Federation for a new start in relations in a speech aired by national television on Saturday.
Strelet, a 45 year-old former legislator and businessman, said that “Russia is an important partner for Moldova but at the same time bemoaned the lack of “mutual understanding” between the two sides.
“We should overcome this barrier and sit at the negotiating table to discuss the entire range of issues and reload our relations,” Strelet was quoted by Russian news agency TASS.
As the co-founder and deputy chairman of the Liberal-Democratic Party, and head of ruling Alliance for European Integration coalition, Strelet took office with the aim of improving Moldova’s economic problems after former Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici resigned on June 12, after only 100 days because of allegedly faking his school diplomas.
Strelet sees improving relations with Russia as the best way of stepping from economic crisis saying "our relations can hardly be called strategic," TASS reports.
One of the poorest countries of Europe, Moldova’s average salary is $200 per month.
Moldovan goods are not allowed to be exported to Russia, after the assignment of Association Agreement into the European Union in 2014.
Russia is also reluctant to re-export EU goods such as fruits, vegetables and wine to the Russian market without any duty rate via Moldova.
Recently, Moldova’s 3.5 million population has been divided over relations with Russia and the West, with recent demonstrations calling for joining the EU by reuniting the country with Romania.
Hundreds, mostly young Moldovans, spent a week walking approximately 430 km from the Moldovan capital Chisinau to the Romanian capital Bucharest calling for the reunification of the two countries, in mid-July.
On his part, Strelet denied plans to unite the country with Romania, saying “neighbouring Romania remains a main partner of Moldova and its partner in its European aspirations. I assure you, neither official Chisinau, nor Bucharest are considering unification. The matter of both countries’ unification is not under discussion.”