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U.S., Moldova celebrate 20 years of FREEDOM Support Act

CHISINAU, 23-Oct-2012 -- The U.S. Embassy in Chisinau and the Government of the Republic of Moldova are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the FREEDOM Support Act, which has provided important U.S. assistance to the development of the nation's economy and government institutions.

The United States of America was quick to support the new Republic of Moldova after it declared independence in 1991.  And not just with words.  On October 24, 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the FREEDOM Support Act, which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.

During the past 20 years, this monumental piece of legislation has provided more than $15 billion in assistance to 12 newly independent states in Europe and Asia. 

The FREEDOM Support Act has provided $550 million to Moldova.  It has supported humanitarian assistance, such as medical care and supplies.  It has trained non-governmental organizations to promote democracy and good governance, and to combat corruption and human trafficking.  It has helped Moldovans to help themselves through education and training, particularly in the justice and agricultural sectors.

Prime Minister Vlad Filat praised the FREEDOM Support Act and other U.S. assistance that was received over the years.  "Beyond those numbers we can see a sincere approach, not a mechanical one; it is meant to really help Moldova," Filat said.

The major player in implementing the FREEDOM Support Act is the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, which, among other endeavors, is helping Moldova's government and businesses to establish a solid and vibrant market economy. 

"Early on, we helped with land privatization.  More than 1 million Moldovans now own title to their own land.  Currently, USAID is involved in assisting the government with important business regulation reform.  These efforts are paying off.  For the second time in three years, Moldova is among the top 10 reformers in the annual World Bank Doing Business Report." 

Exchange programs, which allow Moldovans to travel to the United States to experience American society, are another important part of the FREEDOM Support Act. 

Through the FREEDOM Support Act and other American assistance programs, the United States remains committed to helping Moldova achieve its dreams of a better future, said U.S. Ambassador William H. Moser. 

"I believe Moldova's outlook is bright," Moser said. "We are seeing hopeful signs everywhere.  Civil society is growing.  Government is becoming more open and responsive to the people.  The news media are freer now than they've ever been.  And the country is now taking concrete steps to eradicate corruption. The Embassy looks forward to continuing to work with our Moldovan partners on these and other important issues.  From our side, the FREEDOM Support Act remains a fundamental component of our overall efforts to develop a prosperous and more democratic Moldova."