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Moldova closes polling station in disputed area with Transdnestr

CHISINAU, TIRASPOL, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - Moldova's election authorities said they closed down a polling station in a disputed area with the breakaway Transdnestr Region, citing security concerns.

During a second round of local elections in Moldova, Transdnestr police blocked voting at the polling station in Dubossary. About 50 Moldovan and 60 Transdnestr police arrived at the site for what could have escalated into violence but international mediators persuaded the sides to withdraw.

"The second round of elections in Korzhova [town in Dubossary] cannot to be held because it puts under threat the lives and health of voters and local election authorities," the press service of the Moldovan election commission said.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said, "separatists from Tiraspol and those who support them in Moldova, Russia and beyond the Prut River [in Romania] have very serious interests in this zone." He accused them of trying to block a resolution of the conflict within the 5+2 format, which involves Moldova, Transdnestr, Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE, the European Union and the United States.

Transdnestr authorities said Moldova had not informed them of the decision to open the polling station in the disputed area.

Transdnestr, which has a largely Russian-speaking population, broke away from Moldova following a bloody war in the early 1990s. In a September 17 plebiscite, more than 97% of Transdnestr's population reportedly voted in favor of independence and of subsequently joining Russia.

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