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Romanian President Visits Moldova

Romanian President Traian Basescu (left) meets Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat in Chisinau
CHISINAU -- Romanian President Traian Basescu is visiting Moldova for the first time since a pro-Western government came to power in Chisinau last year, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Basescu today said his country will help Moldova move closer to the EU, which Romania joined three years ago.

Several hundred Moldovans waving Romanian, Moldovan, and EU flags hailed Basescu in downtown Chisinau chanting "Unification!" and "Moldova, Romanian land!"

Basescu is due to sign several bilateral agreements with Moldovan leaders and is expected on January 28 to visit a cemetery for Romanian soldiers who fought against the Soviet Union in World War II.

Most of Moldova was part of Romania before World War II, but became Soviet territory through the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which Moscow signed with Nazi Germany.

About two-thirds of Moldovans speak Romanian and several hundreds of thousands are believed to have applied for Romanian citizenship, most of them since Romania joined the EU in 2007.

Moldova's previous communist government had tense ties with Bucharest, and often accused it of revisionism.