ISRAELI CORPORATIONS INTERESTED TO INVEST IN MOLDOVA – AMBASSADOR MICULET30.01.2008
Interview by the Republic of Moldova’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Israel and Cyprus H.E. Larissa Miculet to Infotag correspondent Lilia Ghurez.
Q: Your Excellency, how would you characterize the current shape of the Moldo-Israeli diplomatic relations?
A: Israel was among the first nations to recognize the Republic of Moldova’s independence. That happened on December 25, 1992, and already on June 22, 1992 our countries established diplomatic relations. Moldova opened its Embassy in Tel-Aviv in 1995.
The two countries have much in common. Both are not large in terms of territory or population size. Both are making an equally hard way towards attaining a genuine independence, and share common human values. The current Moldo-Israeli relations can be characterized as stable, pragmatic, and ones based on confidence, mutual interests, mutual respect, and mutual support. Last 2 years, these ties were receiving a new impulse, which added to their further development across the entire spectrum of bilateral as well as multilateral collaboration.
Q: Could you name some Moldo-Israeli projects being run at the present time, please?
A: Such examples are many in the current partnership relations of the Moldovan and Israeli business communities. With the participation of Israeli businesses registered not only in Israel but in other countries and on the basis of Israeli investments, a whole number of various-profile projects are being implemented in Moldova. Israeli businesses are represented in many sectors of the Moldovan economy – building industry, information techniques, agriculture, insurance, real estate, commerce, and other.
At the moment, there are 113 enterprises with Moldo-Israeli capitals functioning successfully in Moldova, and 80 enterprises with 100% Israeli capitals. Also, by joint effort made by the Moldovan and Israeli Governments and in partnership with private businesses, a project of environment-friendly and ecologically clean production has been under way now. Such products are in high demand at international markets.
Also, the sides are working out joint projects in the fields of irrigation and medicine. The two governments have signed an Agreement on double taxation avoidance – an essential instrument of successful development of trade and economic relations.
In the Israeli business community’s opinion, the current Moldovan investment policy is promoting a higher investment activity. And as the investment climate in Moldova is favorable, Israeli people of business have been in a constant quest for project opportunities and for Moldovan partners with appropriate business reputation. To this end, groups of Israeli entrepreneurs visit Moldova practically every week.
Q: Could you please describe the cooperation developing between the Moldovan Embassy and the Moldovan community in Israel?
A: Israel is often compared with a mosaic. The country is home to the Jewish peoples stemming from most countries of the world. They speak overwhelmingly Hebrew, but one can hear also dozens of other languages around.
In various times, 80 to 100 thousand Jews from Moldova repatriated to Israel. Even a founder and the first Mayor of Tel-Aviv, M. Disenhoff who came to Israel in the late 19th century, was born in the Orhei region of Moldova.
People from Moldova are highly valued in Israel as skilled professionals. They are employed in various economy spheres. Some have achieved impressive results, and are nowadays renowned in Israel and abroad. About 200 thousand Israeli citizens have a relation to Moldova in this or that way – through their spouses, parents, grandparents, or they were simply born in Moldova. Certainly, they are strongly interested in preserving spiritual, cultural and other ties with the land of their ancestors. And some of them have even restored their Moldovan citizenship.
The Moldovan Embassy runs multifaceted joint activities with people descending from Moldova and united into 2 associations. By joint effort, we organize various cultural events at which the people sing Moldovan songs, dance Moldovan, Gagauz and Bulgarian dances. We are already preparing for the approaching Martisor [traditional Moldovan holiday, and nowadays also an international cultural forum marking the beginning of spring. Commences annually on the first day of March – Martie in Moldovan. Hence is the event name – Martisor]. Our former compatriots visit the Embassy also on the holidays of Hanukkah, Pesach, and we enjoy such communication immensely. With their help, we learn more about the Jewish people’s traditions.
Q: Which kind of assistance Moldovan citizens seek most from the Embassy?
A: Currently, the number of Moldova citizens working legally in Israel is nearly 3.5 thousand. Besides them, there are many categories of Moldovans staying in Israel. Their problems are different. But mostly, they apply to the Embassy with notary and documentary problems. A considerable proportion of applications pertain to protection of our citizens’ rights and interests due to labor disputes or/and conflicts.
Lately, we are noticing that our citizens’ appeals for traveling documents are getting fewer. This can be explained with a considerable reduction of the number of Moldovans staying in Israel illegally.
Q: What do the Jewish people know about Moldova? What do you think should be done to make our republic more attractive for Israeli tourists and businesses?
A: The Jewish people are aware that Moldova is a democratic and politically stable country free of anti-Semitism. They know well that Moldova is a friend to Israel, that we are a multi-ethnic state that has created conditions for the development of the culture and traditions of all peoples inhabiting the Republic of Moldova.
To further develop our republic, it is indeed essential to make it more attractive for tourists and foreign businesses, though we need to make our country attractive primarily for ourselves, for our self-respect, and for our children’s future. For this to achieve, it is essential to follow the useful, time-proven experiences of other nations.
And we certainly should learn from the Israelites, too, – first and foremost their self-sacrificing rectitude and unity in building a heaven – a prosperous country on that piece of land which the Lord has given to you. We should learn from them the firmness of spirit and confidence in their own forces, a genuine patriotism, their pride of belonging to one’s nation, learn how to struggle for the nation’s unity and its future.
Q: Your Excellency, you have been accredited also at Cyprus. Would you please describe achievements in bringing our nations closer one another?
A: My accreditation at Cyprus has been since May 2007. Before that, the Republic of Moldova had had no ambassador in Nicosia for several years, so during my first visit there paid to hand in credentials, we have managed to resume our bilateral relations covering a wide spectrum of issues. Currently, the Cyprus authorities are substantially well aware of the developments in Moldova’s political, economic and social life, and are already rendering their backing to us on many issues within the European Union frame.
In 2007, Moldova welcomed on its soil the Cyprus Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, who came to Chisinau in a company of over 30 people of business. During the visit, the parties negotiated bilateral relations, and signed two Agreements – on interaction in tourism and on investment protection. The Government of Cyprus has rendered assistance in the amount of US$50,000 to Moldova to help alleviate 2007 drought consequences.
Much effort and time was required to bring closer our positions on an Agreement on double taxation avoidance. Eventually, Moldovan Minister of Economy and Trade Igor Dodon, paying as visit to Cyprus, signed this Agreement in Nicosia on Tuesday.
Q: What are the Embassy’s work plans for this year?
A: Our plans are pre-determined with the tasks the Moldovan State has set to itself for 2008. Quite many interesting projects have been worked out across the entire spectrum of Moldo-Israeli bilateral cooperation. We will concentrate efforts primarily on the realization of achieved accords on cooperation in the fields of economy, medicine, industry, agriculture, social and cultural issues.
The Embassy has projected undertakings aimed at further development of the political dialog, at holding consultations on consular problems, broadening of scientific and cultural cooperation. To this end, a number of Israeli officials will visit Chisinau. We are projecting also to organize trips for Israeli people of business to Chisinau to take part in various exhibitions and meetings with Moldovan colleagues, as well as to attract Moldovan entrepreneurs and officials to various economic forums organized by Israel.
Infotag: Thank you very much for your interview, Your Excellency.