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Moldovan PM Renews Call For Russia To Quit Transdniester


Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip has renewed his call for Russia to withdraw its troops from Transdniester

Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip has repeated his call for Russia to withdraw its troops and armaments from Moldova's separatist region of Transdniester.

Filip on February 17 told a roundtable at the Munich Security Conference that his country seeks "a balanced, friendly relationship with Moscow."

He described such a relationship as one "in which our trade cooperation will not be politicized, and the dialogue will be based on mutual respect."

It would be a relationship "in which there will be a real desire to help settle the Transdniester conflict and to withdraw military forces and munitions from the territory of the Republic of Moldova," he added.

Mainly Russian-speaking Transdniester declared independence from Moldova in 1990 over fears that Chisinau would seek reunification with neighboring Romania. Most of Moldova was part of Romania in the interwar period.

Moldovan forces and Moscow-backed Transdniester fighters fought a short but bloody war in 1992.

The conflict ended with a cease-fire agreement after Russian troops in the region intervened on the side of the separatists.

Some 1,400 Russian troops remain in Transdniester guarding Soviet-era arms depots, and Moscow has resisted numerous calls over the years to withdraw its troops.

Transdniester's independence is recognized by no country, and the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), among others, have attempted to forge a resolution to the dispute.

Internal Divisions

Moldova is facing internal political divisons as well. The Filip government, which favors closer ties with the EU and the United States, has been at odds with pro-Moscow President Igor Dodon, who is advocating the country's deeper integration with Russia and former Soviet states.

On February 9, a senior Moldovan lawmaker accused Russia of meddling in his country's domestic politics ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.

Filip, in his remarks in Munich -- which were posted on the Moldovan government's website -- said the authorities will do "everything necessary to ensure the freeness and fairness of the parliamentary elections."

Filip also lamented the "state of uncertainty" facing all countries in Eastern Europe.

Along with "the relationship of each country with Russia," Filip cited concerns related to internal issues, "such as structural reforms, consolidation of democratic institutions, the fight against corruption, poverty reduction, infrastructure upgrading."

He stressed that it is in the common interest to make the situation in the region "as predictable and stable as possible."

"The main role in achieving this goal lies with the East European countries themselves -- to become more prosperous and to strengthen their resilience to internal and external challenges," he added.

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