Romania, Britain, Germany see European future for Moldova

21st September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Europe ministers from Romania, Britain and Germany on Tuesday said there was a European future for Moldova and called on Russia to help solve the conflict in the breakaway region of Transdniestr.

"There is a European welcome and a European future for Moldova if that is the course its people wish to take," British minister for Europe David Lidington said at a press conference in Bucharest.

Lidington, who made a two-day trip to Moldova along with his German counterpart Werner Hoyer, said the visit "sought to demonstrate the importance which both our governments give to the process of democratic and economic reform in Moldova."

While he recognized the "difficulties and obstacles" to which the ruling democratic forces are confronting there, he said he was "optimistic" ahead of the elections scheduled in November, after a constitutional referendum was declared invalid earlier this month.

Lidington and Hoyer said they hoped that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in December in the Kazakh capital of Astana would lead to progress on the issue of Transdniestr. Russian troops are still stationed there, despite Moscow's commitment to withdraw them, under a treaty signed in 1999.

The Russian-dominated province of Transdniestr declared independence from Romanian-speaking Moldova in 1990, but it has never achieved international recognition.

"The United Kingdom looks to the Russian government to demonstrate that its promise of cooperation and goodwill is meaningful in practice," Lidington said.

"Progress on Transdniestr would be a wonderful signal for future cooperation with Russia in difficult security fields," Hoyer added. Romania's minister for Europe Bogdan Aurescu called for the resumption of negotiations on the separatist region in the "5 + 2 format" (Moldova, Transdniestr, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE, plus the US and the EU as observers). He said that this was the "only formula likely to lead to a viable solution while preserving Moldova's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

© 2010 AFP

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