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Transdniester Votes For Independence --> Transdniestrian President Igor Smirnov votes on September 17 in Tiraspol (ITAR-TASS) September 18, 2006 -- An overwhelming majority of voters in Moldova's breakaway Transdniester region approved the separatist government's bid to eventually join Russia.

Pyotr Denisenko, the head of Transdniester's Central Election Commission,
said that 97.1 percent of voters had voted in favor of the region's
16-year-old independence course with the ultimate goal of union with

Denisenko also said that almost 95 percent of voters said no to reunification with Moldova.

Pro-Russian separatist region declared independence from Moldova in 1990, and separated de facto from Moldova after a short war in 1992.

Moldova and Western countries have vowed not to recognize the referendum. They have called on Transdniester to return to negotiations with Moldova.

Transdniester's independence has not been recognized by any state. But the territory receives strong, albeit unofficial support from Russia. Some 1,200 Russian troops are still stationed in Transdniester, despite Russian commitments to withdraw them by 2002.

(AP, Reuters)
Universal Principles?

President Putin at a Kremlin meeting in April (epa)

PUTIN SPEAKS OUT: During a January press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there is a need for "universal principles" to settle "frozen" conflicts in the CIS. His comments came against the background of impending talks on the future status of Kosovo, which many predict will grant it a form of "conditional independence" from Serbia and Montenegro. As an ally of Serbia, Moscow has consistently opposed the idea of Kosovar independence. Putin's remarks suggest he may be shifting his position, but only if the principles applied to Kosovo are also applied to frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union. If Kosovo can be granted full independence, he asked, why should we deny the same to Abkhazia and South Ossetia? (more)


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