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Georgia President Given Highest Moldovan Award

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (left) with Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu in Chisinau on November 24
CHISINAU -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has received Moldova's highest award during a one-day visit to Chisinau, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Acting Moldovan President Mihai Ghimpu presented Saakashvili with the Order of the Republic.

After receiving the honor, Saakashvili praised Moldova for the reforms it has undertaken in the past year, when the country was ruled by the pro-Western Alliance for European Integration (AIE).

Saakashvili said of all former Soviet republics, Moldova has the best chance to join the European Union.

Speaking four days before Moldovan parliamentary elections on November 28, Saakashvili denied that his visit to Chisinau was in support of the current government.

The leader of the opposition Communist Party in Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, told a Russian news agency this week that he declined an invitation from Saakashvili to meet for talks during his stay in Chisinau.

Voronin, who has campaigned for closer ties with Russia, told Ria-Novosti that Saakashvili once symbolized "revolution and hope" but is now a symbol of "war, vandalism, and authoritarianism."