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    RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT: RUSSIAN-MOLDOVAN RELATIONS HAVE SEEN A BOOST IN RECENT YEARS

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    CHISINAU, March 4, 2004 - RIA Novosti. The Russian-Moldovan relations have seen a boost in recent years, says Yury Zubakov, Russia's Ambassador to Moldova. In an article published in Thursday's issue of the governmental newspaper Independent Moldova he writes that the coming into force of the basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the two states and the fact that Russian investments have begun to flow into the Moldovan industry are a graphic illustration of this.

    Rusia has also intensified considerably its efforts in settling the Transdniestrian problem, the diplomat said. Transdniestria is a self-proclaimed republic in the east of Moldova with a predominantly Russian population. The Ambassador recalled that last autumn a plan for Transdniestrian re-integration into Moldova by giving it a status of a constituent member of the Moldovan Federation was drafted. "While this document was being agreed the positions of the sides became significantly closer to each other. This fact shows that given a political will the Transdniestrian settlement in the foreseeable future is quite feasible," the Russian diplomat believes.

    He also stressed that in line with the decision of the OSCE Istambul summit the Russian Defense Ministry continues to withdraw the property and munitions of the former 14th Russian Army which was deployed in Transdniestria. Beginning from 1999, 58 railways echelons with the Russian army's hardware and munitions were withdrawn to the territory of Russia, including 42 echelons last year alone. Zubakov said that Russia is to withdraw to Russia another 36 echelons with munitions and 10 with military property.

    The Russian Ambassador to Moldova deems it highly important that relations of strategic partnership were proclaimed between the two states. "These relations have a vast potential for further fruitful development in deeds rather than words," the Russian diplomat said.

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