Between 17 and 19 January Prime Minister Vlad Filat paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. In exchange for Azerbaijani gas, Moldova will probably withdraw from selling arms to Armenia.
Prime Minister Filat came to Baku with intentions of buying Azerbaijani natural gas expressed by declaration of including Moldova in two energy projects: Nabucco and AGRI (Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania Interconnector). The initial talks on this subject between the Prime Minister of Moldova and President of Azerbaijan were held in September 2011 at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Warsaw. Moldovan demand for this fuel is currently 100 percent balanced by Russian Gazprom which has a controlling interest of 50 percent of shares in Moldovagaz. The plans of Chisinau concerning Baku aim at diversification of the gas supplies. At the same time Chisinau more and more boldly adjusts itself to the policy of Romania – the initiator of AGRI and patron of Moldova in the EU.
“Niezavisimaya Gazeta” reports that in response to Filat’s interest in Azerbaijani gas politicians in Baku started to negotiate the issue of Moldova’s arms trade with Armenia – the political enemy of Azerbaijan. Last year, Ministry of Defence of Moldova sent through Libyan airport in Benghazi 60 tons of arms to Yerevan. For Azerbaijan, which has been in conflict with Armenia for 18 years, providing its enemy with more arms is stepping on its toes. However, the authorities in Baku know their assets and quickly learn how to use them in building their advantage over Armenia. They skilfully used Moldovan interest in their mines for sending a simple signal: “If you want our gas, stop selling arms to our enemies.” It is more difficult to survive without Azerbaijani gas than without Moldovan wine. The transfer of the last tranche of arms, which has been suspended since October, may not reach the recipient.
Translated by Marta Lityńska