MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the liaison office, which would be a small diplomatic mission with only civilian staff, would soon open in Chisinau.
"Our position regarding the opening of NATO's office in Chisinau remains the same — this step is absolutely unacceptable. We have recently noted a significant progress in the process of Transnistrian settlement, and the opening of NATO's office in the Moldovan capital may negatively affect the dynamics of Chisinau-Tiraspol relations," Dodon wrote on his Facebook page.
In February, Dodon expressed concern over establishing NATO liaison office in the state’s capital and proposed not to move forward hastily. The president stressed that the agreement on setting up the office was signed before he assumed office in late December, 2016, and the status of the office might be reviewed in the future if NATO proceeded with its establishment. According to Dodon, the opening of the liaison office, scheduled for 2017, is potentially harmful to negotiations on Transnistria settlement.
Transnistria, a region with a predominantly ethnically Russian and Ukrainian population, is a self-proclaimed republic that seceded from the Soviet Republic of Moldova in 1990 fearing possible reunion with Romania. The separation led to a conflict known as "The Transnistria War" that ended in a ceasefire declared in July 1992, but the issue remains unresolved.
Since 2005, the talks on the conflict in Transnistria have been held in the 5+2 format, which, apart from Transnistria and Moldova, includes the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, the European Union and the United States as mediators. The latest round was held on June 2-3, 2016 in Berlin.
According to Moldova’s constitution, the country has a neutral status, although it has cooperated with NATO under the Individual Partnership Action Plan since 1994.