Moldova’s President-elect Maia Sandu says Romania’s president will visit the country by the end of a year, marking a reset in bilateral relations after the pro-Russian incumbent failed in his re-election bid.
President Klaus Iohannis will be the first foreign leader to visit the former Soviet republic, after Ms. Sandu, a former World Bank economist takes office on Dec. 21.
It will be the first visit by a Romanian leader in five years to Moldova, a traditional ally.
Both presidents share pro-Western views and the visit also carries symbolic connotations after years of fraught relations between Moldova, and Romania, a European Union member.
Ms. Sandu made the announcement on Monday after meeting Bucharest’s Ambassador to Moldova, Daniel Ionita.
Romania and Moldova share a common language, culture and history. Moldova was annexed to the Soviet Union during World War II and declared independence in 1991 when the USSR broke up. Many residents also speak Russian.
Ms Sandu defeated Igor Dodon, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Nov. 15 runoff and wants to improve relations with the EU and Ukraine which were neglected under the outgoing president.
Thousands of Moldovans have Romanian citizenship giving them a foothold in the EU. Romania is extending gas pipelines and electricity grids to its neighbor to help reduce dependence on Moscow, a move supported by the EU.
“We stressed the need to re-establish natural bilateral cooperation between Romania and Moldova and to step up Moldo-Romanian cooperation in many areas so our citizens can benefit as soon as possible.”
“This is an important visit for our country and we hope that it will be a first step in in a long-term and productive collaboration between our countries.”
The Romanian president last visited Moldova in 2015 when Nicolae Timofti was president, a year before Igor Dodon came to power.