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Transdniester Head Vows To Consolidate Forces

29 November 2004 -- The leader of a Russian-speaking separatist province in eastern Moldova vowed today to build up his military and consolidate the region's traditional ties to Russia and Ukraine.

Igor Smirnov, who has ruled Transdniester since it broke away from Moldova in 1992, said that Transdniester's people had the right to build their own state and to fight for international recognition.

He was speaking at a rally of the newly formed Respublika party, which is seen to be close to his administration.

Respublika issued a statement saying that it was impossible to reunify Transdniester with Moldova, adding that Moldova was betraying Russia's and Ukraine's interests in the region.

The group added that it was against having Western peacekeepers deployed to the region, a solution suggested by Moldovan authorities.