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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin was a guest at the Ekho Moskvy radio station. He was interviewed by Vladimir Varfolomeyev. In this wide-ranging interview he said that by supporting Dniester separatists Russia was violating its strategic partnership treaty with Moldova. Voronin suggested that Russian peacekeepers should be replaced with military or civilian observers.
Russian attitude to Dniester problem questioned
At the beginning Voronin said he came to the CIS summit to try to "defrost" Moldovan-Russian relations in informal meetings. He agreed with the presenter's suggestion that the Dniester problem is the main cause of this freeze. "Russia, the Russian authorities - I don't mean Russia as a whole, God forbid! - Russian authorities are openly and clearly supporting the Dniester regime and separatism. Why are they doing this? I for one cannot understand this and others in Moldova don't understand this either." Voronin quoted the Russian-Moldovan friendship and cooperation treaty which, among other things, condemns separatism in any form. "And here something unacceptable in relations between states starts, that is, on the one hand to condemn separatism and, on the other, openly and clearly to support separatists in the Dniester. And when [Russian] First Deputy Prime Minister Zhukov signs an agreement in which for the first time in Russian official documents the Dniester leader is called president this speaks volumes. And when many officials, including State Duma deputies, visit the Dniester region and not just to have dinner but to voice their loud support for the referendum on the Dniester's independence and unification with Russia, then we are coming against very many problems here. So does this basic treaty on strategic partnership between us and Russia mean anything? How this should be viewed and understood?" Asked by the presenter why they have put up with this attitude towards them for so many years, Voronin said that "before we came to power this conflict was seen as local and absolutely insignificant. We have internationalized it, we have shown up the security threat in this corner of Europe being posed by this problem and lack of a solution to it as well as by the non-unification of our country. Since then we've been holding very serious negotiations with the Russian Federation because from the very start we have known all the details of the channels, ways and structures through which different and numerous Russian organizations have been giving continuous support to this separatist regime.
But we hope to be understood, eventually. Generally speaking, - and I repeat this because perhaps not everyone has heard this or realized this - the Dniester issue is today the most solvable problem among all these frozen conflicts. I have in mind the Abkhaz, Ossetian and other conflicts." Voronin stressed that people in Moldova and the Dniester were, on the whole, of the …