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    MOSCOW READY TO OPEN TIRASPOL CONSULATE

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 14, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/ -- Moscow is still ready to open its consulate in Tiraspol, the capital of the self-proclaimed Dniester-Moldavian republic. This was disclosed by Alexander Yakovenko, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, here today.

    We have repeatedly contacted authorities in the Republic of Moldova, suggesting that the Tiraspol consulate be opened, Yakovenko said. About 70,000 Russian citizens now live in the Dniester area; as we see it, they are entitled to the entire range of consular services, Yakovenko added.

    Unfortunately, the Moldavian side doesn't voice its consent so far. However, we still perceive this issue as part and parcel of the bilateral dialogue because this problem directly influences the interests of our citizens abroad, Yakovenko stressed.

    Yakovenko confirmed the fact that Russia still abided by its voluntary commitments, which were assumed by it during the OSCE's Istanbul summit, and which were confirmed at the Porto conference of OSCE Foreign Ministers. Such commitments stipulate the withdrawal of weapons and combat hardware from the Dniester area.

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