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Deepening Crisis Between Romania and Moldova

16 October 2001 CHISINAU, 15 October (Stina)--Romania and Moldova have switched their relations from the "bridges of flowers" policy to a stone fence one. The political crisis between the two governments started early October, when Moldovan Justice Minister Ion Morei accused Romania of expansionism and of interfering in Moldova's internal affairs. As this statement was made at the European Court for Human Rights [in Strasbourg], it placed Romania in a peculiar position.

Both Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and President Ion Iliescu expressed their concern and Nastase's visit to Moldova scheduled for 17 October was canceled. Nastase characterized the Romanian-Moldovan relations as being "reconsidered" at the moment, while Iliescu is expecting apologies from the Moldovan government.

[...] Ion Morei's statement came as Moldovan government would not recognize the existence of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Moldova and as both parties asked for the European Court's arbitration. In this context, Morei denounced Romania's expansionism through the support given by the Romanian Church to the Moldovan Church, and to "pro-Romanian Moldovan forces." Do those forces exist?

The province was part of Romania until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when, following a Russian-Turkish war, Moldova became part of Russia. It remained so until 1918, when Romania reunited its territory, including Moldova. As a consequence of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact [non aggression Treaty signed by Germany and the USSR on 23 August 1939], Moldova became part of the Soviet Union. In 1990, the country proclaimed independence and there was a hope of reunification with Romania among the population, while political forces were loyal to Russia.

[...] Through the nineties, special relations were established between the two countries-the "bridges of flowers" policy-and Romania has provided Moldova with substantial financial aid and scholarships for Moldovan students. The ongoing crisis is challenging those relations and even though the Moldovan governement stated it was not aware of Morei's intentions, it did not make further statement yet.
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