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Moldova seeks observer status at Eurasian Economic Union - president

Moldova seeks observer status at Eurasian Economic Union - president Igor Dodon, Moldova's president

CHISINAU (Moldova), March 22 (SeeNews) - Moldova's president Igor Dodon said on Wednesday he has formally initiated the process for granting observer status to the country at the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

"I have decided to initiate the process of Moldova obtaining the status of an observer state within the Eurasian Economic Union. Yesterday, I sent a letter to the chairman of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council regarding this," Dodon wrote in a post on Facebook.

At the end of May, the member states of the union will analyze Moldova's request, which is the first step towards the country becoming part of the EAEU, Dodon added.

Observer status means that Moldova will be able to participate in the organization's activities, but not in the voting or the decision making process.

Dodon stressed that Moldova should cooperate with the West as well as with the East and that partnership should be focused only on serving the country's national interests. Also, he said that on April 3, Moldova's capital Chisinau will host an international economic forum, which would be attended by the chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Tigran Sargsyan.

In January, pro-Russian Dodon said that Moldova could scrap its association agreement with the European Union in 2018 if the Socialist Party (PSRM) wins majority in Parliament at the next general election.

Dodon, who was elected president in November, is a former PSRM leader. The Socialists are the second biggest group in Moldova's 101-seat parliament, holding 24 seats. An alliance formed by the Democratic Party (PD) with 20 seats and the Liberal Party (PL) with 13 MPs oppose Dodon's ideas of building closer ties with Russia and favour an EU path for the country.

Earlier this year, Dodon said that he will not agree to the opening of a NATO liaison office in Chisinau and might consider calling a referendum on the matter. In Dodon's opinion, the opening of a NATO liaison office in Chisinau is a provocation launched by the pro-EU governing coalition in Moldova.

The tiny landlocked ex-Soviet state of Moldova has a population of some 3 million people. The country has strong historical and political ties with its western neighbour Romania, with more than 75% of the population speaking Romanian. However, some 10% of the population living predominantly in the internationally unrecognised separatist republic of Transnistria speak Russian and identify themselves as Russians. Transnistria broke away from Moldova in the 1990s.