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Former Moldovan Leader Refuses To Meet Visiting Saakashvili

Former Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin
Former Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin
CHISINAU -- Former Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has rejected a meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili during his two-day official visit to Chisinau, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Voronin, the head of the Communist Party, said that Saakashvili means "war, vandalism, and authoritarianism," local media reported. Voronin said that by trying to retake Georgia's pro-Moscow separatist regions by force in 2008, Saakashvili has created "a dangerous precedent" for Moldova and its conflict over the separatist region of Transdniester.

Saakashvili's visit to Chisinau was due to start on November 24.

The timing of the trip -- just ahead of Moldova's parliamentary elections on November 28 -- was criticized today by the Humanist Party, led by pro-Russian politician Valeriu Pasat, a former head of Moldova's intelligence services.

In a press release, Pasat called the visit "provocative" and warned that it might influence the result of Sunday's election and damage Moldova's ties with Russia.