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President Vladimir Voronin about the problems facing Moldova - an interview taken by Vasile Botnaru

In an interview with RFE/RL, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin spoke about some of the biggest issues facing his country.

Addressing the newly adopted law on the principles that will guide the future status of the regions east of the Dniester River, Vladimir Voronin denied the risk of losing this territory or of an irreversible consolidation of this area under the Ukrainian umbrella.

In this context, the Moldovan president said that his Ukrainian counterpart Yushchenko coordinated Transdniestrian separatist leader Smirnov's visit to Kyiv with him personally and that the visit was organized to familiarize Smirnov with some of the elements of the joint Moldovan-Ukrainian declaration, which is based on the Yushchenko plan.

As for the practical means of dismantling the criminal system controlled by the Tiraspol KGB, President Voronin said that he was relying very much on the “support of European organizations, mainly the EU, and on assistance from the United States to persuade the Russian Federation to pull both its troops and munitions out of Transdniester. Because the presence of the Russian military there is a political umbrella and a form of support for the separatist regime in Transdniester, even though it is not acknowledged openly”.

Vladimir Voronin added that “the Russian Federation has to give up - not only in its relations with Moldova but with all the other former Soviet republics - its imperial fixation. If they fail to overcome this imperial fixation, there will always be problems”.

Regarding Chisinau’s present stance towards Bucharest, President Vornin said: “In terms of economic, cultural and social issues, in aspects related to our European policy and in many other areas we are ready to do everything it takes to develop further our relations with Romania. Romania and Moldova ought to be the most important partners in various areas of activity and development.

Asked to evaluate Romanian President Basescu’s statement that Romania and Moldova are “two states, one nation”, President Voronin insisted on the existence of the Moldovan nation. He added.however: “these issues should not be brought into discussion today. Such issues are up to linguists, historians, or any other specialists - but not up to politicians. And they should not be the basis of any sort of relations”.