He defends his country against Russian hostility as convincingly as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi. Fortunately, she hasn’t needed conventional weapons for that yet.
The pro-Western Moldovan president Maia Sandu is somewhat of a star in European politics. She has a degree from Harvard, has so far resisted all attempts at a coup in the country, and faces a pro-Russian anti-campaign at home because she is a woman and without a husband.
Now Sanduová is heading to Prague. Prague Castle confirmed to Seznam Zprávám that President Petr Pavel will receive her in October. The president will also be a guest of the “Havl” conference Forum 2000 “Moldovan President Maia Sanduová should visit the Czech Republic in October, the exact date will be announced in cooperation with the Moldovan side,” said the press department of the Office of the President of the Republic.
According to information from Seznam Zpráv, it will take place in Prague on October 16, when the Forum 2000 conference starts at the same time. It takes place from October 15 to 17 in Prague. Sandu’s participation was confirmed by the organizers of the event. “I can confirm that he will arrive and speak at the conference,” Forum 2000 media coordinator Filip Šebek wrote to Seznam Zprávám.
Forum 2000 is a prestigious conference founded by former president Václav Havel. Its guests are traditionally personalities of international reach and the topic is the development of democracy and human rights.
In the past, it was speculated that the President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen would come to the conference to meet Pavel informally. He called the Taiwanese head of state immediately after his election, which angered China. It was a decisive step by Pavel and a break from the era of Miloš Zeman, who was conciliatory towards China. Taiwan is a geopolitical strategic point – communist China considers it its territory, on the contrary, the USA supports its emancipation.
According to Seznam Zpráv information, the Taiwanese politician is not expected to attend the conference in person this year. She joined it online last year.
The weapons are heading to Moldova
Moldova borders Ukraine, which is resisting Russian aggression. The country has long faced attempts at subversion by Russia: part of the territory of Moldova, Transnistria, has been under the control of Moscow since the 1990s, which also has its own soldiers on its territory. At the same time, Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe; last year, together with Ukraine, it received the status of a candidate country for the European Union.
In addition to defiance of Russian aggression in the past year, the Czech Republic and Moldova were united by the project of the European Political Community (EPC) – a summit of European leaders beyond the EU, which was held for the first time in history last fall in Prague during the Czech presidency. The second round was then held in Chisinau – Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala passed the baton to Sandu. He should meet Sanduová in Prague this time as well.
“The Prime Minister will meet the President next week at the EPC summit in Granada, Spain, and he would like to meet her in Prague as well. We are interested in strengthening mutual economic relations and cooperation in the field of defense and security,” National Security Adviser Tomáš Pojar told Seznam Zprávám.
However, cooperation between the two countries in the field of security was disrupted in the past by a case when, according to the findings of the European media, rifles from Česká zbrojovka were supposed to reach Russia via Moldova in 2021. The arms business has been under sanctions since the occupation of Crimea in 2014. At that time, the Czech authorities stopped all arms exports to Moldova.
“We have restored the licensing and so far everything is running without problems. The weapons that we sell to Moldova have not appeared anywhere else, especially not in Russia,” Veronika Stromšíková, director of the department of control policies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Seznam Zprávám. According to her, the decision was made after the Moldovan side tightened guarantees that the weapons would not end up in unauthorized hands.
In the last year, according to Stromšíková, the Czech authorities positively assessed two requests for smaller quantities of firearms for the Moldovan armed forces and a total of fourteen requests for exports to the civilian market.