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Moldova Wants Ousted Leaders To Return Diplomatic Passports

Many Moldovans carry Romanian passports

Many Moldovans carry Romanian passports

CHISINAU -- Moldovan Foreign Minister Iurie Leanca said today that 26 former officials have failed to return their diplomatic passports since losing their jobs following the victory of the current ruling coalition in last summer's elections, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Leanca said in Chisinau that the country's former president, Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin, has two diplomatic passports even though as a parliament deputy he is entitled to just one.

Leanca mentioned among other "unlawful" holders of VIP travel documents the country's former prosecutor-general, the former foreign minister, and the head of the country's spy agency.

He added that the previous government issued diplomatic passports to people who had no business holding them, such as the former manager of the country's railroad company.

Moldovans with ordinary passports need visas for virtually every country outside the Commonwealth of Independent States, of which Moldova is a member.

Chisinau is currently negotiating an association agreement that could eventually give Moldovans visa-free entry into the 27-member bloc. But even the most optimistic officials in Chisinau say it could take years until that goal is reached.

Tens of thousands of Moldovans also have Romanian passports, giving them access to the EU.