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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
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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ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%


Leu (plural: Lei)

Vladimir Voronin

Update No: 303 - (27/03/06)

Moldovan president regards negotiations with Transnistrian leaders as ineffectual and pointless 
Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, believes that negotiations with the current Tiraspol leaders are ineffectual, indeed pointless from the start. In a most incisive manner he has recently given his reasons.
On March 10th, he took part in the Resonance weekly programme on the Moldova-1 national television channel, and said he had analysed the progress achieved in the Chisinau-Tiraspol negotiations prior to his Communist Party's coming to power, and after that, and the achievements of the talks' latest rounds in the 5+2 format. Commenting on the statement by Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov concerning Tiraspol's intention to quit the negotiations, Voronin said, "I have analysed the entire history of the negotiations, and am now asking myself, do we really need these talks?" 
He compared the Tiraspol leaders' participation in the negotiation process with a trial at which the defendant is taking part in discussing the judgement concerning himself "on equal terms with the judge, defender and prosecutor". 
"These gentlemen have usurped state power, they violate the law, go in for smuggling, and do what they wish. They shot at our soldiers to consolidate their state power. Their life is a paradise, so it would be naive to expect they would give up paradise. They continue the negotiations for the only purpose of receiving new benefits", stated Vladimir Voronin. 
He stressed, "Negotiations should be conducted with the civil society, with new democratic authorities that would win elections after the region's demilitarisation and democratisation, not with these state power usurpers. That's only how the Transnistria problem can and should be solved - on the basis of the Yushenko Plan and the Law on the main provisions of a future special legal status for Transnistria passed by the Moldovan Parliament last year". 
Concerning the new customs regime of transporting Transnistrian goods across the Moldova-Ukrainian border, the President said, "The entire hysteria has been raised by the Transnistrian leaders who have been deprived of the possibility to trade in armaments. They manufacture and export Grad [Hail] missile systems, Kalashnikov submachine guns, and other arms. They do not want to lose all this, and that's why they do not wish to work legally. Economic agents have nothing to hide. As for the Tiraspol leaders, they are afraid least their weaponry trafficking should be exposed. If Moldova and Ukraine hold on, the Tiraspol leaders will lose interest to the arms trafficking. After that, nobody will need Smirnov or his camarilla". 
Voronin categorically refuted rumours that an attempt may be undertaken to solve the Transnistria problem by using force: "This is rubbish, the fruit of someone's ill imagination. Everybody knows it is not typical of me to settle any questions whatever by force." 

Kiev acts to close "the black hole" that is Transnistria
Ukraine has finally begun cooperating with Moldova and the European Union against rampant unlawful trade across the Transnistria sector of the Ukraine-Moldova border. That 450-kilometer sector, Europe's largest "black hole," forms a major source of the secessionist authorities' income and power as well as a gateway to illicit trafficking between the Black Sea region and EU territory. 
Ukraine's move marks an unexpected, full turnabout. On March 3, Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers announced its political decision to start implementing the recent Ukraine-Moldova agreement, signed by Prime Ministers Yuriy Yekhanurov and Vasile Tarlev, on introducing a legal trade regime on that border. Ukraine's Customs Service Chairman Oleksandr Yehorov issued the relevant orders that same day. Both decisions in Kiev cited EU requirements to Ukraine as well as the 2005 Ukraine-Moldova-EU Commission Memorandum on measures against illicit activities on that border. 
The Yekhanurov-Tarlev agreement stipulates that exports originating in Transnistria (to Ukraine or via Ukraine) can only enter Ukrainian territory if they carry Moldovan customs stamps and relevant documents; and that imports bound for Transnistria (from or via Ukraine) can only enter Transnistria through Moldovan customs checkpoints, which are situated on Moldovan-controlled territory. Furthermore, Transnistria-based companies must register with Chisinau's authorities and obtain Moldovan certification and licenses in order to conduct legal export-import operations. Ukrainian authorities have now started applying those provisions to railway cargoes and long-vehicle road transport. 
For its part, Chisinau has simplified the registration procedure and granted tax breaks and duty exemptions to Transnistria-based companies that register as Moldovan. Such companies are then entitled to all trading privileges that Moldova enjoys on international markets as a member of the World Trade Organization and other trade groups. They also qualify for all the tax breaks and other advantages that right-bank Moldovan companies enjoy under Moldovan law. Moldovan authorities had held a series of joint conferences with Transnistria companies, Ukrainian authorities, and EU representatives from December through February, informing Transnistria business in detail about Moldovan registration procedures and the introduction of Moldovan customs documents on that border sector. 
Presidents Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine and Vladimir Voronin of Moldova conferred on this issue by telephone on March 4, 6, and 7, agreeing to have their presidential offices monitor the situation and exchange information about the situation on the border. Yekhanurov, Yehorov, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Volodymyr Khandohiy confirmed the decision and explained the background to it in public statements on December 6, thus implicitly signalling the authorities' consensus on this issue (Interfax-Ukraine, UNIAN, Channel Five TV [Kyiv], March 4-7). 
However, Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council Secretary Anatoly Kinakh is sounding a somewhat discordant note. On March 6, Kinakh suggested that Ukraine, Moldova, Transnistria, Russia, OSCE, and EU examine the situation collectively (Ukrayinska pravda, March 6; Itar-Tass, Flux, March 7). The suggestion corresponds with Moscow and Tiraspol's position seeking Tiraspol's participation with blocking rights in all decisions and claiming that Russia has interests on this border (1,000 kilometres distant from Russia). By contrast, Chisinau and the EU -- and, now, the Ukrainian president and cabinet -- take the position that only Moldova, Ukraine, and the EU need make decisions on that border under international law. 
Kiev had, over the years, resisted the introduction of law and order on that border. From time-to-time it signed agreements that were not to be honoured. Even Yushchenko twice quashed agreements signed by the Ukrainian and Moldovan prime ministers on normalizing the trade regime on that border. The Yekhanurov-Tarlev agreement of December 30, 2005, was suspended on January 25 by the Ukrainian president for never-clarified reasons. The factors behind the sudden turnabout are not fully clear, but among them is undoubtedly Washington and Brussels' insistence that Ukraine finally take this step. 
The EU's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, telephoned Yushchenko to support the implementation of the December 30 Moldova-Ukraine agreement. Solana and his Special Representative, Adriaan Jacobovits de Szeged, are publicly encouraging Ukraine to carry the measures through and to cooperate with the EU's recently deployed Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in this effort.
They are urging Transnistria economic entities to register in Chisinau, so as to "establish an orderly regime on the Ukraine-Moldova border, to which the EU attaches great importance"; and are criticizing Tiraspol's decisions to close the border and block the legal trade. A statement by the U.S. State Department welcomes Ukraine's decision to implement the December 30 agreement with Moldova "as an important step promoting border security and resolution of the Transnistria conflict" (EU Council press release, March 6; Ukrayinska pravda, March 6). 
Whether Kiev will stay this course beyond the March 26th legislative elections seems as uncertain as the composition of the post-election parliament, government, and presidential entourage. With EUBAM present on that border, however, any post-election government would find it difficult to backtrack on the obligations assumed by this government.



Moldova to overhaul power plant with Czech loan 

Moldova will overhaul a major power plant using a Czech government loan potentially worth US$240 million, Interfax News Agency reported.
The Czech Republic's EximBank will offer the low-cost credit as part of a programme to promote Moldovan energy independence, said Vladimir Antosiy, Moldova Minister for Industry and Infrasturucture. The money will go initially towards modernising the Chisinau TETs-2 power plant, an installation currently providing 20 per cent of all of Moldova's electricity needs. Some nine million dollars would additionally be used to cover long-standing debts owed by TETs-2 to creditors, and so improve the station's cash flow, the report said. The Czech project could extend to infastructure overhauls across Moldova totalling 240 million dollars, Antosiy added. The announcement came one month after Moldova was plunged into an energy crisis due to Russian hikes in natural gas costs. Pressure on Moldova's Communist government to provide the country with steady and affordable energy supplies has increased in recent weeks due to capture of the Moldovan power plant, in the city Dubosary, by security forces from Transnistria.





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