November 16, 2022
Good morning, distinguished colleagues.
It is wonderful to be here today surrounded by alumni of such an esteemed organization. I would especially like to thank the George C. Marshall Center and the Alumni Association of Moldova for their ongoing support to these events and the Ministry of Defense for hosting.Today you will discuss issues that are critically important to Moldova’s next steps, including how national security relates to Moldova’s candidacy for EU membership, and how to address Russia’s escalating hybrid aggression in the region since 2014. Moldova and this entire region are in a significantly different situation than when you all last gathered one year ago. Moldova is now a candidate for the European Union, a remarkable achievement. However, the complexity of regional security dynamics has grown exponentially as Russia wages its unprovoked war against Ukraine. We’ve seen throughout how Moldova has proven itself a steadfast friend to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, both through its principled opposition to Russia’s war and its generous humanitarian support. But yesterday’s Russian missile strikes on Ukraine, which President Biden called totally unconscionable, were one more example of the Kremlin’s brutal and inhumane targeting of Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. And we saw yesterday the impact that can have here on this side of the border. As you know, President Biden also spoke with Polish President Duda and agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion in rural Poland, near the Ukrainian border. As the president said, we will determine what happened and what appropriate next steps would be.
Against this backdrop, the United States has further strengthened its partnership with the Moldovan people and government to address immediate challenges – including energy security and both foreign and domestic malign influence – and build a democratic, prosperous, and secure future. The Marshall Center’s contributions form one important element of this partnership. The path to enduring and sustainable reform is challenging, but the distinguished and diverse group of more than 200 Moldovan graduates of the Marshall Center’s programs comprise an incredible resource as Moldova takes these important steps. You all have a unique opportunity to shape Moldova’s future for the better. I am confident the links you have made through the Marshall Center and its alumni network will foster innovation, collaboration, and cooperation across government, the private sector, and civil society as you contribute to solving Moldova’s most pressing issues.