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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 17, 2002

Joint Statement by President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Voronin on U.S.-Moldovan Relations

We welcome the positive development and expansion of U.S.-Moldovan relations over the last 11 years. The relationship of our two countries is based on a shared commitment to promoting prosperity, freedom, and security in Moldova and throughout the region.

Together, we reaffirm our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, and underscore our determination to bring the Transnistrian separatist conflict to a peaceful resolution. We stress our continued commitment to the ongoing OSCE-led Transnistria talks and, in particular, to the Kiev Document as the basis for negotiation of a lasting settlement.

We note and welcome the Russian Federation's intention to implement fully its commitments undertaken at the OSCE's Istanbul Summit by completing the withdrawal of its forces from the territory of Moldova by December 31, 2003. We urge Transnistria's authorities to support unconditionally this process. If the Transnistrian authorities continue systematically to create obstacles for the disposal or withdrawal of Russian ammunition and military equipment, we are prepared to consider together with other concerned countries targeted measures directed at the Tiraspol regime.

We recognize the progress that Moldova has made in transforming its economy in a free market direction, most notably in the agricultural sector. At the same time, we are cognizant of the economic challenges currently facing Moldova, including Moldova's particularly difficult debt situation. We are in complete accord that Moldova must strengthen its reform efforts, especially in the areas of privatization and the energy sector, and improve its investment climate. We agreed that with strong and clearly demonstrated performance under Moldova's IMF program, the United States would consider participating in a comprehensive plan to stabilize Moldova's debt outlook in the medium term.

We note and welcome Moldova's positive record since independence in conducting free and fair elections and in implementing democratic reforms. We pledge our commitment to upholding the principles of democracy and human rights and to observing them in practice. To this end, we underscore the vital importance of further progress in meeting OSCE election standards and in strengthening free and independent media in Moldova.

Finally, we reaffirm the importance of continued cooperation between the United States and Moldova in promoting regional security, including through our common efforts at combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; transnational crime; and trafficking in persons. We will deepen our cooperation to combat international terrorist threats to world peace both in our own countries and internationally. The United States appreciates Moldova's support in the global war on terrorism.

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