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Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on August 8 (ITAR-TASS) August 9, 2006 -- Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin says his meeting on August 8 with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, was a "serious step toward unfreezing relations."

Voronin says the talks were held in a "very friendly atmosphere," but added that, despite what he sees as an improvement in relations with Russia, Moldova will not alter its pro-Western course.

He said the talks focused on Moldova's separatist region of Transdniester, which relies on support from Russia. The presidents reportedly also discussed wine imports and natural gas.

Earlier this year, Russia banned imports of wine from Moldova.

Relations over Transdniester have been particularly tense since Moldova rejected a Russian peace plan in 2003.


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