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Moldova/Romania: Voronin, Basescu Want Greater Progress On Transdniester

Moldovan President Voronin (file photo) (RFE/RL) The presidents of Moldova and Romania said after meeting in Bucharest today that they're disappointed with the 5-6 December summit on the Transdniester dispute. The summit was expected to make progress in convincing Russia to withdraw its troops from Moldova's separatist region. But Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said he and Romanian President Traian Basescu were dissatisfied with the OSCE event. Both also criticized tomorrow's election in the pro-Russian territory.

Bucharest, 10 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said today Moldova and Romania are
disappointed with the results of the annual Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit regarding the Transdniester dispute.

Voronin, speaking in Bucharest at a joint news conference with Romanian President Traian Basescu, said the Ljubljana meeting failed for the third time to come up with a solution regarding the Russian troops' withdrawal from Moldova's separatist region.
"We will be always ready to support Moldova, no matter how big the difficulties." -- Romanian President Basescu

"First of all, we have discussed the results of the OSCE summit in Ljubljana," he said. "We are both very unsatisfied by the results of the summit, because for the third consecutive year, no decision has been made at the summit regarding the Transdniester problem."

Basescu meanwhile reiterated Romania's total support for Moldova's territorial integrity: "Our point of view regarding the Transdniester conflict is very clear: Chisinau must obtain political control on its whole territory, in accordance with the constitution of the Republic of Moldova."

Voronin said he and Basescu also discussed tomorrow's upcoming election in the unrecognized Transdniester. Voronin expressed satisfaction that both the OSCE and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have decided to shun the poll.

"We have also discussed tomorrow's so-called elections for Transdniester's so-called Supreme Soviet -- elections which are not being recognized by the OSCE," Voronin said. "I am happy that the executive body of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in the person of secretary [Vladimir] Rushailo, has declared that the
elections are not going to be monitored by them."

However, Voronin expressed disappointment with the result of a newly launched European Union monitoring mission along Transdniester's border with Ukraine. The mission was launched on 30 November and aims to quell rampant arms, drugs and people's smuggling across Transdniester's border with Ukraine.

But Voronin said he's disappointed with the results so far: "We have been expecting very positive results [out of the EU monitoring mission on the border between Transdniester and Ukraine], but our initial information does not prove that such results can actually take place."

Basescu and Voronin also discussed Russia's plans to phase out subsidized gas prices for ex-Soviet republics that are now independent countries and charge them international market prices.

The move, announced by Russia's Gazprom on November 29, has been criticized as a means to pressure ex-Soviet states such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova which are seeking closer relations with the West.

Basescu said the Romanian government is ready to offer Moldova gas and electricity in case prices charged by Russia rise excessively.

"I reassured Mr. President Voronin that in case of any difficulties which Moldova could face regarding an excessive rise in the price of natural gas and electricity, it should not hesitate to appeal to Bucharest's help," he said. "We will be always ready to support Moldova, no matter how big the difficulties."

Voronin is in Bucharest on a one-day visit. He and Basescu were later due to open the Moldovan Wine Festival in Bucharest.

(RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service contributed to this report.)

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