Voronin: Transnistrian settlement remains Moldova's key priority
Moldova's acting President Vladimir Voronin told a news conference today he is favour of resuming talks to settle the conflict with Moldova's breakaway Dniester region (Transnistria).
"A Dniester settlement remains one of our key priorities. We advocate the settlement of this problem by granting the region special status in line with the principles of Moldova's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty," Voronin said.
He also said that Chisinau sought "full demilitarization of the country and its absolute neutrality".
"We are confident that this will help resolve the Dniester problem. There should not be two armies on the banks of the Dniester River or foreign troops on Moldova's territory. Of course, the status of neutrality should always be observed," he added.
Voronin expressed regret that the Dniester settlement process had been disrupted by the April 7 (disturbances street protests against the alleged rigging of the 5 April election).
"It always happens like this: the worse the situation in Moldova is, the better for the separatist forces in the Dniester region. Therefore, we speak in favour of stability and the planned settlement of the Dniester conflict," Voronin said.
Asked by journalists to comment on the recent resignation of the speaker of the Dniester parliament, Yevgeniy Shevchuk, Voronin said that "this has nothing to do either with the situation in Moldova or with the Dniester conflict".
"Yevgeniy Shevchuk is a weak person. His character is not adequate to the situation existing in the Dniester region. There is a domestic struggle and there are intrigues there. The EU might have done him a disservice by naming him the only Dniester leader who is allowed to enter the EU. Smirnov and his supporters have simply 'eaten' him," he added.
The EU prohibited Dniester leaders from entering its territory in February 2003 and has extended the ban ever since. The ban was later backed by the USA an d the new EU members. Shevchuk is the only Dniester leader who is not subject to the ban.