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Moldovan Premier Says Transdniester Resolution Will Be Peaceful

Moldovan Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii
Moldovan Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii has stated that the crisis surrounding Georgia's breakaway regions will not lead to instability in Moldova, which is embroiled in its own frozen conflict with its Transdniester region.

Greceanii spoke during a visit to RFE/RL on September 3, where she gave a press briefing focused on regional issues and her country's attempts to end the impasse over separatist Transdniester.

The recent hostilities between Russia and Georgia have refocused attention on other frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space, including Transdniester, which declared its independence from Chisinau on September 3, 1990.

The two sides fought a war before a cease-fire was established in 1992. Since then, the status of the region has remained unresolved, with Transdniester relying on support from Moscow.

In her press briefing, the Moldovan premier was asked whether any comparisons could be drawn between her country and Georgia, whose breakaway regions have now been recognized by Moscow.

Greceanii emphasized that the Moldovan authorities have categorically rejected using force in Transdniester. "The Transdniester conflict can be and must be resolved in an absolutely peaceful manner. There is no other way," she said. "And what happened in South Ossetia must not in any way destabilize the situation in Moldova, when it comes to resolving the Transdniester conflict. On the contrary, it has united our Moldovan society."

Instead, Greceanii said Moldova believed in negotiations and seeking a deal with the leadership in Transdniester on the basis of economic and other incentives.

"Moldova enjoys preferential trade terms for exporting goods to countries of the European Union," she said. "These preferential trade terms are enjoyed by enterprises in Transdniester, although our economic system is completely different from the one in Transdniester. We simply offered these enterprises the option of registering in Moldova and they enjoy the trade preferences. And 70 percent of all of Transdniester's exports are to countries of the EU. These are concrete steps."

She said the government in Chisinau was prepared to give Transdniester the maximum degree of autonomy, and cited the example of the Gagauz people as an example. "On the territory of Moldova, we have an autonomous Gagauz region, which was established in 1994 and has been functioning very well," Greceanii said. "Of course, [for Transdniester] it could be and should be a broader type of autonomy -- financial and economic -- and we need to work on this. It's a negotiation process. And I am absolutely convinced that we will all reach agreement."

Asked about the issue of Moldovans getting Russian passports, she said that was their right. "Citizens of Moldova can have dual citizenship. And we cannot prohibit anyone from having dual citizenship. There is only such a ban for civil servants, who must all practically only be citizens of Moldova -- of one country," Greceanii said.

The Moldovan prime minister added that Moldova has no plans to join NATO, as the country's constitution stipulates neutrality.
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