Former Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs Accuses Pressure From the Government to Withdraw From the WTO Leadership Race
Former Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Tudor Ulianovschi, a candidate for the post of head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), left the position race, where he participated along with seven other contenders from Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, the UK, South Korea, and Mexico.
In discussion with Ziarul de Gardă, Tudor Ulianovschi revealed that he did not have support from the Moldovan Government during the race for the WTO’s Director-General. Ulianovschi thinks this led to the interpretation of other states that “a certain candidate does not enjoy the support of his own country and therefore cannot be voted.”
“I regret that during these three months of the international campaign, the head of Moldovan diplomacy failed to discuss in a wide format with the country’s top leadership and to express the arguments of those who know what multilateral diplomacy means. This includes generating the political will to promote a truly national candidate- through official letters, verbal notes, telephone conversations, and bilateral mutual support arrangements. In their absence, the other states interpret that a certain candidate does not enjoy the support of his own country and, therefore cannot be voted,” Ulianovschi declared.
Tudor Ulianovschi mentioned that Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Țulea, contacted him in June, asking him to withdraw his candidacy from the competition immediately, at the indication of Prime Minister Ion Chicu. At the same time, Ulianovschi claims that he had pressure whenever he appeared in the world circuit.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs contacted me as early as June, informing me that the country’s prime minister indicated my immediate withdrawal from this world top competition without offering any explanation. In this sense, I am, in a way, grateful to the Ministry that it was in no hurry to limit my participation in this rather tough competition as early as July. I expected to be withdrawn, and I was pressed every time I appeared in the world circuit. I hoped that the diplomacy of Moldova would redirect its actions for a good campaign, especially when I saw that the world’s great centers of political and economic analysis rated me with the same score as South Korea’s trade minister and a former Kenya ambassador to the WTO, placing me in the top 3.
However, we have to admit that not everyone can be nominated for this competition, as some pre-conditions must be met by those who intend to enter the race. Moreover, they have to have excellent knowledge of rules and practices of trade and the world economy. I have acted as a technocratic minister in the former Filip’s Cabinet in 2019; it should not be an impediment or reason for revenge or personal frustrations. I understand that the Moldovan diplomacy was limited in actions. Still, at least they could respond adequately and accept the bilateral support proposed by other states for the institutionalization of some regional arrangements,” added Ulianovschi.
The Ministry’s representatives made some clarifications in the press.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration offered this platform to Mr. Tudor Ulianovschi, submitting his candidacy for the position of WTO Director, being an opportunity that certainly offered visibility to our country abroad. Currently, the Ministry is focusing on the next steps in identifying the future head of the WTO, an important international structure for Moldova and world trade, in which practical solutions for economic recovery in a pandemic period will be found, following our country’s interests,” stated in a Ministry’s press release.
Ulianovschi declared he would emigrate across the ocean, a fact confirmed by himself. However, the former foreign minister says he could return to the governmental or political sphere.
“I never thought I would leave Moldova, but after so many years as a civil servant, I want to retire to the international private sector. I work as vice president of a multinational renewable energy company based in Canada. Therefore, I can’t wait to take my family with me because, for years, we shared our married life at a distance, being both career diplomats. We will soon become members of our Diaspora abroad, and we will continue to contribute together to promote a positive image of Moldova abroad. I do not rule out the idea of returning to the governmental or political sphere. Probably a little later, when a new generation can contribute to the modernization and improvement of our citizens’ living standard,” pointed out Ulianovschi.
Tudor Ulianovschi held previously the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova, Ambassador to Switzerland, and Permanent Representative to the UN and WTO Office, Chargé d’Affaires in Qatar, and Adviser of the Embassy of Moldova in the United States.
During his tenure as Ambassador to Geneva, the Moldovan diplomat held several residencies in some UN and WTO structures. Currently, he is the First Vice President of one of Canada’s largest multinational companies in the field of renewable energy.
On June 16, Moldova nominated former Foreign Minister, Tudor Ulianovschi, for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to succeed Roberto Azevêdo, who announced his resignation on August 31, 2020. On September 18, Ulianovschi was excluded from the race after not accumulating the score to advance to the second round of the competition.
According to the Reuters website, the three candidates to lead the WTO are out of the race – the Mexican Jesus Seade, the Egyptian Hamid Mamdouh, and the Moldovan Tudor Ulianovschi.