Under Secretary Zeya’s Remarks at TETRA Project Launch Event

Delegation of the United States
TETRA Project Launch Event
Opening Remarks
Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights

December 1, 2023
Good morning, Minister Efros, thank you for hosting us and thank you Ambassador Logsdon for your introduction.  Representatives of the Moldovan government and law enforcement agencies:  Greetings!  Minister Efros, your principled leadership and dedication to reforming and strengthening the capacity of Moldova’s law enforcement institutions plays an essential role in building a secure future for Moldovan people and communities.  I am proud to join you today to recognize your efforts and formally launch a new U.S. investment to expand the ministry’s secure communications system.  

Moldova sits at an important political and geographic crossroad.  The people of Moldova have demanded reform, democratic governance free from corruption, and a future in the European Union.  Your government is making remarkable progress to deliver those objectives to the people of Moldova.  The EU commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations is a testament to the hard work and progress you have made.   At the same time, your government has been capably managing the effects of Russia’s brutal war of aggression next door in Ukraine.  Moldova has demonstrated unwavering support for its neighbor, Ukraine.  The Moldovan people and government have welcomed hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees to safety, facilitated by the highly professional, round-the-clock response by Moldova’s border police, police officers, and other emergency services.  Moldova is truly an example of how a country can center respect for human rights while also upholding security for its people.

Like Moldova’s dedication to its neighbors, the United States’ dedication to Moldova is steadfast.  As Secretary Blinken said earlier this year when he met with President Sandu, “We stand strongly with Moldova in support of its security, its independence, its territorial integrity, and the very important reform efforts that the president and the government are making.”  Over the last year and a half, the U.S. government has provided $774 million in new development, humanitarian, and security assistance to Moldova.  Under the umbrella of our strong partnership, we’re working closely together to address shared priorities including corruption, border security, gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, and cybercrime.  We look forward to continuing this partnership and support Moldova’s advancement on its path to EU integration.  

We are clear-eyed that malign actors are working hard to prevent Moldova from assuming its rightful place within the community of Europe.  We know that Russia’s attempts at election interference and disinformation follow its familiar playbook to try to weaken the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries whose people have determined their future lies with Europe.   Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine has also created new opportunities for corrupt actors, traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations trying to exploit border vulnerabilities.  We must work together to combat these risks.  Strengthening border security is important to thwart criminal networks and counter transborder threats across the region.  The United States is committed to strengthening border security and law enforcement capabilities across Moldova, including along the administrative line with Transnistria.  We also recognize Moldova’s national security is integral to European and regional security.

The secure communications assistance we’re announcing today is a big step in delivering on that commitment.  At $22.3 million, the TETRA project is the United States’ largest single security sector investment in Moldova.  This project will expand Moldova’s existing law enforcement communication network across the country to ensure that Moldovan authorities have the most effective, reliable, and secure communications capabilities.  When complete, this network will support all units within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  This includes the Border Police, law enforcement, and emergency services, as they work to protect and secure families, communities, and businesses across Moldova.  The TETRA project complements U.S. efforts to provide specialized equipment, technical assistance, and training.  This is to help Moldova manage migrant flows, prevent and respond to border incidents, improve contingency preparedness, and implement accelerated and human rights-based border management in crisis situations.  The United States will also continue to support the mobile and special intervention units of both the Border Police and the Customs Service with protective equipment, first aid kits, vehicles, and training.  

To close, I want to underscore the enduring commitment of the United States to supporting the full spectrum of Moldova’s democracy – your sovereignty, your democratic institutions, a vibrant civil society, and the rule of law.  I look forward to closely following the TETRA project’s progress as a symbol of our joint commitment to strengthening Moldova’s sovereignty and security, and we are eager to continue our partnership to build law enforcement capacity.  Moldova’s commitment to implementing these important democratic reforms has been exceptional, and we will stand with you in solidarity as you cultivate Moldova’s democratic institutions. 

Thank you.