Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita Before Their Meeting

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.  It’s a real pleasure to welcome the prime minister of Moldova here to the State Department.  The United States is, in fact, trying to return a little bit of the hospitality of the prime minister and the president showed me in Moldova last year.

We’ve seen remarkable support from the Moldovan people for the many refugees from Ukraine as a result of Russian aggression in Ukraine.  I think there’s something like 85,000, 86,000 Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, 90 percent of whom have been taken in by Moldovan families, which is remarkable.

And we see a government with a very strong agenda continuing to strengthen democracy, to fight corruption, to build energy security – all of which the United States strongly supports.

And of course, we want to applaud your status now as an EU candidate.  That’s, I think in and of itself, a remarkable gage of the efforts, the success, the work that Moldova is doing, that the government is doing.

So we have a lot to talk about.  But mostly, welcome.  It’s great to have you here.

PRIME MINISTER GAVRILITA:  Thank you very much, Secretary Blinken.  It’s great to be in Washington and to discuss the many issues on our bilateral agenda.  We have a very strong partnership, and the U.S. is a strong supporter of Moldovan reforms.

We, of course, are living through a very difficult international context and security context after the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Moldova stands with the Ukrainian people and does everything possible to help, so we received warmly the refugees with the assistance of the entire society.  Everybody mobilized – nongovernmental organizations, private sector, companies, volunteers.

We also recently had quite a logistics crisis that we are managing to support Ukrainian goods to go through the border, and we’re working very closely with our Romanian partners on this, and we are working on contingency plans for this winter.  We are concerned about evolutions of the energy market, the prices.

Inflation is hitting our citizens very hard, and under these difficult circumstances it is particularly important to have good friends and the support of our partners, first of all in the European Union, who is now the – our family of countries, and in the United States.  So thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good.  Great to have you here.  Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER GAVRILITA:  Thank you.