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Moldova proposes uniting armed forces with breakaway Transdnestr

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Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said on Wednesday that Moldova and the breakaway Transdnestr republic should form a united military force.
CHISINAU, October 10 (RIA Novosti) - Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said on Wednesday that Moldova and the breakaway Transdnestr republic should form a united military force.

The president said military units should be recruited on a territorial basis, with soldiers serving in neighboring regions.

"The most important thing here is that they [the united armed forces] would not be used for law enforcement and public security," Voronin said in an interview with a national newspaper.

Voronin also commented that, "two absolutely useless armies" exist on the territory of Moldova, and that there was no likelihood of them ever taking up arms against each other.

He also added that "We are never going to return to the nightmare of 1992," a reference to the armed conflict sparked off by the declaration of independence by the largely ethnic Russian Transdnestr region following the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The president also admitted that it would not be easy to make large-scale military cuts, as thousands of people would subsequently lose their jobs. In addition to this, he noted that the army is a very important social institution in the former soviet republic, providing education and work experience for the bulk of the country's young people, especially those from rural areas.

In place of military units, the reform should introduce obligatory educational centers where officers teach military skills to young people. After this "military service," those who wished to do so would be offered the chance to undertake further specialist training.

In the president's opinion this would allow the country to cut military expenses, and to redirect money to more urgent tasks.

He added that the country's army, despite multiple reforms, is presently more like a formal attribute, like its national currency, emblem or anthem, than a real fighting force.

"Of course, we could increase its combat-readiness and fighting strength and provide it with the most up-to-date weapons, but what for?" Voronin said. "It is evident that Moldova is not going to wage a war against any country, and we don't see any state in this part of Europe posing any military threat."

He also reiterated that "Moldova is a neutral state. It does not and will not enter any military alliances."

"For the ruling party, the country's neutrality, declared in our Constitution, is not an issue to be discussed," Voronin added. "This is one of our political principles, the cornerstone of our approach to national security."

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