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Russia Calls On Separatist Transdniester Leader To Leave Power

Transdniester leader Igor Smirnov
Russia's president is calling on the longtime head of Moldova's separatist Transdniester region not to run for another term as president.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin is quoted by Russian news agencies as saying it would be a mistake for the 70-year-old Igor Smirnov to run for a fifth term as president of the Russian-speaking separatist region in December 11 elections.

Naryshkin is quoted as criticizing Smirnov for creating an atmosphere of personal power that plunged the region, one of Europe's poorest, into a deep social and economic crisis.

Naryshkin suggested the separatist Transdniester parliamentary speaker Anatoly Kaminsky as a potential new president. Smirnov has run the region, located on the eastern edge of Moldova bordering Ukraine, since a brief war after the collapse of Soviet rule.

Moldova and the breakaway region were reported to have agreed last month to resume internationally-mediated negotiations on settling the conflict.

Transdniester's self-proclaimed independence has not been recognized by any state.

compiled from agency reports