Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Walrus detectives: Scientists recruit public to spot mammal from space 12 top U.S. officials to join Biden at major climate conference MORE on Monday pledged additional United States aid to Moldova to develop closer ties with Europe, even as Russia puts pressure on its new government.
“We are pleased today to announce that we’re going to add additional funding to their efforts to develop competitiveness, which is key to their businesses and to their economic prospects, and will add another $2.8 million to an already $4.7 million for a total of $7.5 million or so to help in this particular transition,” Kerry said from the State Department with Moldova’s prime minister, lurie Leanca.
The U.S. has already contributed nearly $1.5 billion to Moldova's transition, Kerry said.
Kerry invited Leanca to Washington in December when he visited Moldova, a nation located between Ukraine and Romania. The parliament appointed Leanca to be the country’s new prime minister last May, bringing an end to a political crisis.
Moldova and Georgia, both former Soviet republics, have been negotiating trade agreements with the European Union, but Russia has been interfering, Kerry said.
“There are challenges. I regret to say that Russia, in some of the challenges that we’re seeing now in Ukraine, has put pressure on Moldova. There are challenges with respect to their energy sources, and also their ability to trade. But we are committed firmly to the direction that Moldova has chosen for themselves.”
Moldova and Georgia signed a free trade pact and political association treaty with the EU in November as they worked toward becoming member states. Ukraine decided not to sign the deal, which sparked the massive protests that eventually led to the recent overthrow of its government.
Kerry said he looked forward on Monday to having a “constructive” and “timely” conversation with Leanca about the situation in Ukraine. Kerry will leave for Ukraine Monday evening for meetings with officials there on Tuesday.