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Moldova's President Confirms He Won't Attend EU Summit

President Vladimir Voronin is due to step down after serving the maximum two terms.
CHISINAU -- Outgoing Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin says he will not attend the European Union's Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on May 7 and will send Foreign Minister Andrei Stratan instead.

According to RFE/RL's Moldovan Service, Voronin said on April 30 that he needs to stay in Chisinau to tackle the political crisis that erupted after the controversial elections won by his Communist Party last month.

Voronin also criticized as "too little" the EU plan to offer his country and five other former Soviet republics enhanced cooperation in the Eastern Partnership.

The EU plan does not promise eventual EU membership to the six countries -- Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia -- and Voronin said Chisinau wants an association agreement that could lead to membership.

Voronin once told the Russian media that the Eastern Partnership is directed against Chisinau ally Moscow and is meant to create new spheres of influence in Eastern Europe.