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MOLDOVA


 

 

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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 1,964 1,621 1,500 141
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 590 460 400 157
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
33,843 

Population 
4,446,455

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%

Capital 
Kishinev 
(Chisinau)

Currency
Leu (plural: Lei)

President 
Vladimir Voronin


Update No: 297 - (29/09/05)

Ukraine, Moldova seek free poll in rebel region
Ukraine and Moldova asked Europe's biggest security and rights watchdog on September 21st to oversee a free election in Moldova's breakaway Dnestr region, run by hardline separatists with no international recognition.
Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Vladimir Voronin said they had sent a letter to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to stage a poll as part of a plan to break the deadlock in the conflict over the region. "We signed a letter to the OSCE asking to create an international commission to oversee preparations for and the staging of a democratic election in Dnestr," Voronin told a joint news conference. "This is a very important political development. It must either be fully carried out by the end of the year or at least be underway in terms of implementation." 
Dnestr's Slav leaders are dismissed as illegitimate by the international community, but have some links with conservative politicians in Russia. They have called a December parliamentary election and invited international observers to their self-styled republic on the Ukrainian border. That poll is almost certain to be ignored. 
The OSCE has already said it backs a free, fair election -- part of a peace plan proposed by Yushchenko's liberal administration.
Dnestr broke away in 1990 when Moldova was still a Soviet republic on grounds that its Romanian-speaking majority might opt one day to join Romania to the west. Russian troops intervened to end a brief war between the two sides in 1992 and have remained, despite promises to leave. Moldova and Romania briefly considered unification of some sort in the 1990s but both have long ruled out any such notion. 
Voronin, the only Communist Party leader in the former Soviet Union, accuses Moscow of blocking a settlement and now says he wants one day to join the European Union after earlier calling for closer ties with Russia. He said the timing of an internationally-recognised vote would be up to the OSCE commission "once it determines that the Dnestr region is able to hold the election under the European principles upheld by the OSCE." 
Moldova's parliament has called for Russia to withdraw its troops by the end of the year. Voronin and Yushchenko accuse Dnestr's leaders of large-scale smuggling and have enlisted the European Union to help patrol the border with Ukraine.

Talks on Transdnestr settlement conclude in Ukraine
Russia presented a wide range of proposals to address the situation in Transdnestr during talks that ended on September 27th in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported the same day. 
The two-day round of talks involved delegations from Moldova and Transdnestr, along with mediators (Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE). The talks ended inconclusively.

Involvement of EU, US in next round of Transdnestr talks
"The parties have agreed to resume talks on the Transdnestr settlement, with the next round to be held in Chisinau [Moldovan capital] and Tiraspol [Transdnestr capital] on October 27th-28th," the statement said. 
The really positive development is that the United States and the European Union are expected to join the talks in October, RIA Novosti reported.
The Moldovan head of state was on an official visit to Romania just beforehand. Voronin and his Romanian counterpart Basescu gave a joint press conference in the Romanian northern city of Iasi. "EU and USA have to attend the talks on the statute of Transdnestr. Otherwise, Moldova might refuse to participate in the talks", Vladimir Voronin had said. 

Moldovan separatist leader welcomes US and EU involvement in settlement process
What is promising is that the leader of Transdnetr, Igor Smirnov, said involvement of the US and the EU in settlement talks in his province might have a beneficial effect, the state news agency reported Sept. 25th.
It looks increasingly likely that the US and the EU may play some role in resolving the long-running conflict, as Russia said recently that it was not opposed to the two taking part as observers. 
In a report carried on the official Olvia-Pres news agency on Sept. 25, Smirnov, leader of separatist Trans-Dniester since 1992, said he would welcome the involvement of the two. "They have a considerable experience in resolving regional conflicts, such as the Serbian and Montenegrin confederation, or the proposals for Cyprus and Kosovo," Smirnov was quoted as saying - his first public comments welcoming the participation of the two Western partners.

Communists triumph
The irony about Moldova is that it is the only European country to have a genuine communist party in charge, which came about in a generally fair electoral process, according to international observers. Yet it is at loggerheads with the Putin Kremlin, so nostalgic for the former USSR, over the Transdnestr issue.
Moldova's ruling Communist Party won a parliamentary majority several months ago in March 6th's national elections with 46.1 percent of the vote. The centrist opposition Bloc for Democratic Moldova took 28.4 percent, while the Popular Christian Democratic Party won 9.7 percent. 
The Patria Rodina electoral bloc was next (4.95%), followed by the Social Democratic Party of Moldova (2.92%), the social-political movement Ravnopravie (2.89%), the Democratic-Christian Peasant's Party (1.38%), and the Party of Social-Economic Justice of Moldova (1.67%).
Only the first three parties managed to garner enough votes to enter the 101-member parliament. A party must get six percent of the vote to win seats in parliament. 
The Communist Party, under President Vladimir Voronin, obtained 57 seats, four short of the 61 -- three-fifths of the seats - needed to re-elect the president outright. A total of 11 independent candidates and nine political parties contested the parliamentary poll. About 2.4 million Moldovans were eligible to vote and the turnout was 63.7 percent.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which monitored the election was reported by the AFP news agency as saying on March 7th that despite some flaws, it was generally well-run. The election was "generally in compliance with most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and other international election standards," Kimmo Kiljunen, head of the OSCE's mission of observers, was quoted as saying. Some 770 foreign observers monitored the elections. 

Russia Introduces Sanctions against President of Moldova
Russia's Federal Customs Service stopped releasing documentary excise stamps to importers of Moldova's alcohol. This move signals, the analysts say, that the undeclared war of the Kremlin against intractable President Voronin has escalated, reports www.kommersant.com. It is rather an ominous development ahead of the late October talks on Transdnestr.
First rumours about a delayed release of documentary stamps were in the air in late September. "We have had no documentary stamps from Russia for a week already," said Igor Pantya, director of Moldova's Zurbeni vin winery. "I think we have stamps for a few days more. Then, we will stop the enterprise. Our entire product goes to Russia, so the work won't make sense."
Nearly all alcohol producers in Moldova face similar problems, as 85 percent of Moldova's wine is exported to Russia. Now the stock taking for all available stamps is under way, said Georgy Kozuba, head of Moldova's Union of Wine Exporters. "If the Russian Federal Tax Service doesn't resume releasing the stamps, we all will be on the verge of bankruptcy," Kozuba specified.
"The stamp release has not been stopped but become more balanced," said Pyotr Kanygin, CEO at Vinny Mir (Wine World) Holding, adding the Federal Tax Service doesn't release stamps to all importers of CIS as the new stamps are introduced from July 1, 2006 and some companies have applied for 50 million to 100 million stamps all of a sudden. But Kanygin's supposition finds no proof on the market. For instance, the big importers of Ukrainian vodka - Nemiroff and Soyuz-Viktan -have no problems with excise stamps. 
Moreover, it seems only Moldova's importers are the sole injured party, which prompted the market players to speculate about the renewal of undeclared trade war between Russia and Moldova. The key reason is the obvious shift of Moldova towards the West coupled with the breakaway from the Moscow control and the threat to end Russian military standing in Transdniestria. 
But should Russia go to extremes, not only Moldova but lots of Russian enterprises would suffer losses - half of all wine delivered by Moldova to Russia (60 percent of the country's consumption) is bottled directly in Russia. In addition, many wineries in Moldova are actually owned by Russian business.
The experts forecast Moldova will seek a compromise with a bad tempered Moscow over this obvious form of 'punishment.' 

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AGRICULTURE

Moldova will export grain to Azerbaijan


According to ITAR-TASS news agency the Prime Ministers of Moldova and Azerbaijan in a telephone conversation have made an agreement that Moldova will export its new crop grain to the Caucasian country. The Press-service of Moldovan Cabinet of Ministers said that the amount to be supplied and the prices were to be agreed upon by joint commission on economic cooperation between the two countries. It is expected that Moldova will sell to Azerbaijan feed wheat and seeding materials of sunflower and corn. 
Moldova harvested 1.4 million tonnes of grain this year, which is more than last season by 168,500 tonnes. The wheat crop has reached some 908,000 tonnes.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Mobile phone subscribers up

The number of two Moldovan telecommunications operators' subscribers increased 17.3 per cent in the first half of this year to 923,000 people, the National agency in charge of communications regulations said, rbcnews.com reported. 
In the reported period, Voxtel had 87,770 new customers compared to Moldcell's 48,280. Thus, the market share held by Voxtel was 59.2 per cent compared to 40.8 per cent held by Moldcell. The number of mobile users per 1,000 inhabitants was 273, up 4.1 per cent from a prior-year period. This is to be compared with the number of fixed communications services subscribers, which was 269 per 1,000 resident.

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