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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Moldova ready for Russia Belarus union

The Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, who is visiting Moscow, has said that Russia and Moldova are at the final stage of preparations for a basic political treaty.

Speaking at a news conference, he said Moldova could now take part in the proposed union between Russia and Belarus as an observer.

Mr Voronin did not rule out Moldova's accession to the European Union but said it could not join NATO because it was constitutionally a neutral state.

He said his talks with President Vladimir Putin covered matters related to the breakaway region of Trans-Dnestr but did not address the issue of the withdrawal of Russian troops stationed there.

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