Sat. Jul 13th, 2024
Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean Remarks to the Press

PRIME MINISTER RECEAN: (Via interpreter) Greetings, everyone.  I would like to greet the media as well and thank you for having joined us here today.  The Secretary of State Blinken is greeting you here as well again in Chisinau, Moldova, and we’d like to thank you very much for – for this visit, considering the aggression of the Kremlin in Ukraine.  The U.S. is helping Moldova to overcome the issues of a different kind, especially and for instance the one that has to do with the energy. 

We are launching a new project here with an investment of $85 million provided as support – as part of the support of the U.S. of $300 million that were pledged in the previous year.  And this investment will support the energy security of Moldova when issues will re-emerge with the public grid and when issues will happen to the – to the grid either because of the domestic systems or because of the bombings that to this day continue to affect the energy infrastructure of Ukraine, and Moldova is integrated with that grid. 

I would like to say that a similar amount in a previous year was provided by the United States, so that the government would be able to compensate in – to compensate in the invoices, the bills, the large – their prices – the high prices for energy.  On this note, I would like to express my gratitude to the United States and to the American people for the support provided to the citizens of Moldova.

I would like to also mention that the support of the U.S. is not only limited to the energy sector.  The United States are also supporting Moldova’s efforts to build a country that is strong – that is strong economically speaking, a country that has resilient institutions, and this is invaluable when it comes to the contribution of the U.S. to the justice sector reform, to fighting corruption.  And we must also mention their contribution to this constant support in the field of economic development, speaking of winemaking, speaking of the IT sector, and also speaking of the development of tourism.  Everywhere we look, we will see a considerable contribution provided by programs implemented through USAID.

I would also like to thank the local team of the embassy, and to thank the local USAID team.  Thank you for your dedication and thank you for how much of your heart you pour into these projects. 

Moldova has a strategic objective to become part of the large European family, and the United States are there with us, supporting us – supporting us in transforming our country in a way as for us to become a full-fledged member that can also be part and contribute to the European Union. 

(In English) Secretary Blinken, thank you very much.  The floor is yours.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Well, Prime Minister, thank you very, very much.  Thank you for your leadership.  Thank you for our partnership.  We greatly, greatly value it.  And as I said earlier, the United States is committed to Moldova’s sovereignty; it’s committed to Moldova’s success – its success as a democratic, prosperous country grounded in Europe, grounded in the West.  And a big part of making sure that that future happens is energy security and energy independence.  We’ve seen through Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine its weaponization of energy – the threat that dependence on Russia for energy poses to national security and economic security.  And so, an important part of the work that we’re doing with Moldova – as are many other countries, and notably Europe – is helping build greater energy independence and energy security.  And you see that right here today.

The work that USAID is doing – and I’m very, very proud of that because in country after country, where the rubber really meets the road in making a difference in practical ways in countries’ lives and people’s lives is through USAID.  The work that it’s doing here with this project to help Moldova build up its infrastructure – particularly, as you’ve seen, these large-scale batteries to be able to store energy – that’s going to make a huge difference in helping to deal with having a stable grid, to deal with fluctuations, to enhance the use of renewables, to better connect with the European grid, and to ultimately integrate the European energy markets. 

And the commitment that we’re making today to advance this project with up to $85 million, as you also heard from the AID director here, that will be a catalyst to more investment coming from the private sector, coming from other countries to fully build up this capacity.

Second, something that we’ve already put forward, and that is a project to strengthen the high-voltage capacity of Moldova’s transmission lines, particularly the connection between Moldova and Romania – that will further strengthen Moldova’s connections to Europe and further integrate it into the European security grid.

You couple that with the reforms that Moldova is engaged in that will attract even more private sector investment, also create good jobs, and you see this energy future for Moldova – one of security, one of independence.  And this has really been the story not just here in Moldova but the story actually in Europe itself over the last almost two and a half years since the Russian aggression against Ukraine.  What we’ve seen is absolutely remarkable: countries that for decades, generations, had built up a dependence on Russian energy moving away from it, strengthening their independence, strengthening their energy security.

We’re determined to help Moldova do exactly the same thing, and that will in turn set a very strong foundation for its democratic future, for its prosperous future, for its sovereign future as a country that charts its own way forward.

Thank you very much.  Thank you, Prime Minister.  (Applause.)

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originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS