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Moldova, U.S. Expanding Cooperation

(Washington, DC--October 10, 2000) Moldovan Prime Minister Dumitru Braghis told an RFE/RL press briefing last week that the United States is expanding its political and financial support to his country across the board.

Braghis drew that conclusion on the basis of his conversations with U.S. officials in both the executive and legislative branches during his stay in Washington, the first such visit by a Moldovan leader in five years.

He said he was particularly encouraged by Washington's agreement to form a special joint economic working group to help Moldova move toward a free market economy. American and other international assistance, he said, will help his "government of technocrats" to overcome Moldova's current difficulties and also to find a peaceful resolution of the separatist challenge in the Transdniestr region.

The Moldovan prime minister added that despite the drought which has affected his country severely, he expects that money from the IMF, World Bank, and U.S. EXIM bank will allow the country's agricultural sector to move ahead.

He also said that his government was also moving to overcome the consequences of its energy indebtedness both by keeping its payments for new deliveries current and by seeking new energy suppliers within the context of the GUUAM accord.

At the same time, Braghis said that his government intends to maintain good relations with Russia. He stressed that American support would help Chisinau to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Transdniestr situation.

He noted that Moldova in April had suggested introducing UN or OSCE peacekeepers in place of the 2,500 Russian troops now there. Such an arrangement, he suggested, would help to promote a settlement while maintaining tight control over the massive munitions dumps left behind by the Soviet military.