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Moldovan Communist Chief 'Concerned' At U.S. Missile Plans

Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Voronin
CHISINAU -- Moldovan Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin says he has informed U.S. Ambassador in Chisinau Asif Chaudhry of his "concern" over reports that Washington's plans to deploy missiles in neighboring Romania, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Voronin said in a press release on February 18 that Chaudhry assured him the antimissile shield that is to be hosted by Romania will be entirely defensive and will enhance security in the region.

It is not clear when Voronin and Chaudhry met or who initiated the meeting.

Moldova's new pro-Western government has been upbeat about the Romanian-U.S. plan. Washington and Bucharest say the antimissile shield is to protect against possible missile strikes from Iran, and has nothing to do with Russia, Moldova's traditional ally.

But on February 18 the leader of a new Moldovan political party that describes itself as leftist joined the Communists in criticizing the plan.

Lawmaker Vladimir Turcan, a former Communist who now heads the Moldova Unita party, appealed to Bucharest to reject the proposed shield. He said it would be damaging to Moldova's interests and to regional stability.