Europe

Moldova: PM insists ex-Soviet republic wants to join EU

  • Moldovan President Igor Dodon attends a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Moldova's new president, who is visiting Russia on his first trip abroad, is voicing hope for rebuilding "strategic" ties with Moscow. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)

    Moldovan President Igor Dodon attends a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Moldova's new president, who is visiting Russia on his first trip abroad, is voicing hope for rebuilding "strategic" ties with Moscow. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Moldovan President Igor Dodon shake hands during a joint news conference in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Moldova's new president, who is visiting Russia on his first trip abroad, is voicing hope for rebuilding "strategic" ties with Moscow. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Moldovan President Igor Dodon shake hands during a joint news conference in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Moldova's new president, who is visiting Russia on his first trip abroad, is voicing hope for rebuilding "strategic" ties with Moscow. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Moldovan President Igor Dodon speaks at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Moldova's new president, who is visiting Russia on his first trip abroad, is voicing hope for rebuilding "strategic" ties with Moscow. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)

    Moldovan President Igor Dodon speaks at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Moldova's new president, who is visiting Russia on his first trip abroad, is voicing hope for rebuilding "strategic" ties with Moscow. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Moldova's prime minister on Wednesday reacted angrily to a suggestion by the nation's president that the ex-Soviet republic may shelve a trade pact with the European Union.

President Igor Dodon, speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, denounced a pact Moldova signed with the EU in 2014. He says a new government could annul it after 2018 parliamentary elections.

In a statement to The Associated Press, however, Premier Pavel Filip said Moldova's constitution did not allow the president "to announce or take such decisions," which he called "pure, political rhetoric."

Filip said his pro-European government would "not accept any intervention," from Dodon about a matter outside the president's authority.

"Quite the contrary, we will accelerate the implementation of undertaken commitments," the statement said "The Association Agreement is part of our governing program, it's one of the strategic pillars of the country.... and we will deliver on reforms and increase citizen welfare."

He also slammed Dodon who, during his visit to the Russian capital, said Moldova was willing to take on observer status in a Russia-dominated economic alliance. Filip said the president had no authority to weigh in on the issue.

After Moldova signed EU trade pact, Russia placed a trade embargo on Moldovan wine fruit and vegetables. Last year, more than half of Moldovan exports went to EU states.

Filip, who came to office a year ago, said that moves to improve relations with Russia should remain "at a bilateral level."

Dodon's trip to Moscow was his first foreign visit since his election in November, when he beat a pro-EU candidate. He has pledged to restore trade and political relations with Moscow.