TRANSDNIESTRIA DOES NOT BELIEVE IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT'S SINCERITY

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MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - The latest proposal of Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin to solve the Transdniestria problem "in a graceful manner" is no more than an "election campaign propaganda," stated Justice Minister of the unrecognized Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic Viktor Balala in a telephone interview with RIA Novosti. (Transdniestria is a territory on the left bank of the Dniester River with a capital in Tiraspol and predominantly Russian-speaking population).

The representative of the "separatist" regime (according to Chisinau-used terminology) pointed out that Transdniestria had long proved its statehood, both in the political and economic sense. In his opinion, it is confirmed by the fact that the self-proclaimed republic conducts talks with Moldova on a parity basis (the existing five-way format of negotiations on the settlement of the problem that includes Moldova, Transdniestria, Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE, apparently does not satisfy Chisinau any more, and it proposes including Romania, the U.S. and the EU in the list of the participants).

"In addition, the events of fall 2003 clearly showed that the President of Moldova is an unsurpassed virtuoso in the sphere of making empty promises. This time, the most convincing evidence of the seriousness of his intentions will be an unconditional implementation by Moldova of the provisions of the 1997 Memorandum and also all earlier signed official documents," the justice minister of Transdniestria emphasized.

"Another important question is when Mr. Voronin is going to carry out his promises?" Mr. Balala stressed.

He reminded that only two weeks remained until the parliamentary election in Moldova and the expiration of Mr. Voronin's presidential term. "Otherwise, we will face again a situation similar to a philosopher's saying, 'People are willing to promise mountains to avoid giving away even crumbs,'" Mr. Balala concluded.

On Saturday, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin announced that Chisinau had developed a new mechanism for the solution of the Transdniestrian conflict, envisioning that the region would have a full-fledged authority, "from planning its own budget to adopting its National Flag and National Emblem." "The only condition is that Transdniestria must remain part of the unified republic of Moldova," Mr. Voronin stressed.

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