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Moldovan president blasts Romanian comments on riots

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin on Wednesday called statements made by Romania during recent anti-communist riots in Chisinau "extremely biased and untimely."
CHISINAU, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin on Wednesday called statements made by Romania during recent anti-communist riots in Chisinau "extremely biased and untimely."

"Romanian President Traian Basescu's address [in parliament] is the best and clearest proof" that Romania is interested in integrating Moldova, Voronin said in a TV address to the nation.

Protests originally led by the opposition turned violent last week, when some 10,000 rioters, mainly students, broke into the presidential residence and parliament in the capital, Chisinau. Several hundred protesters and police were injured in the violence.

After the April 7 riots, Moldova expelled the Romanian ambassador and introduced a visa regime with its neighbor. Basescu said in parliament that Romania would not allow the Prut River to become "a new iron curtain" and called on the EU to investigate the "repression in Moldova."

Voronin also said: "This address...leaves no doubt over who exactly is motivating those few Moldovan politicians for whom the fight for liberal values is for some reason the same as fighting against Moldova's independence."

Voronin said the Moldovan authorities had been forced to expel the ambassador as the Romanian embassy in Chisinau had become a place where Moldovan politicians secretly met.

He called the introduction of a visa regime "a response to the neighboring state that let itself become openly involved in domestic political events in Moldova" and added that the "unwillingness by Bucharest's officials to sign a basic agreement and border treaty with Moldova is clear proof of their insincerity."

The Moldovan president also called for an amnesty and an end to harassment of all protestors in recent riots apart from repeat offenders.

"Criminals and habitual offenders who made use of the complicated political situation will remain in detention," Voronin said in the address. "As regards other participants in the April 7 events, I request that the relevant competent bodies hold an overall amnesty and stop all forms of persecution of those participants, involved in street protests."

Moldova's Central Election Commission (CEC) said it will end a recount of votes from the April 5 parliamentary election contested by the opposition on Thursday.

"There are a few polling stations remaining, where the recount is to be completed Thursday morning due to technical reasons," Eugeniu Stirbu said. "The recount results will most likely be made public in the next few days and immediately passed onto the Constitutional Court for approval."

The recount was started Wednesday. The decision to recount votes was made by the Constitutional Court on Sunday at the request of President Voronin, who chairs the ruling Communist Party.

The election commission secretary said earlier Wednesday that some 20,000 members of regional electoral bodies are involved in the recount, and that the process is being observed by international monitors.

The Liberal Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and Our Moldova alliance said in a joint statement earlier in the week that major violations took place during the April election in the compiling of lists of eligible voters. The opposition claimed that some 400,000 voters had been unlawfully registered to vote.

However, observers from Europe's main election monitoring body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, gave their overall endorsement to the voting process.

President Voronin's Communist Party won almost 50% in the April 5 polls. Voronin is due to step down on May 7, but his party won just enough seats in parliament to be able to elect a successor without requiring votes from any other party.

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