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CHISINAU, May 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Leader of Moldova’s Gagauzia autonomous region, Mikhail Formuzal, has called on the central government of the country to refrain from making haste about the signing of an Association Agreement with the EU.
“The situation won’t look nice if the political elite in this country changes and Moldova renounces the accords with the EU,” he said. “This will affect our country’s reputation and credibility in the eyes of the international community.”
He also said that the authors of the AA had ignored the interests of Gagauzia.
“We have many questions regarding that document, including the impact it might have on our relations with Russia,” Formuzal said, adding that 98% of the region’s residents spoke in favor of an eastern vector of development for Moldova, as well as for joining the Eurasian Customs Union, which embraces Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia at present.
Formuzal also said the Gagauzian leadership had brought apologies to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin “for the actions of Moldovan authorities that subjected to a search the jet of a Russian delegation, which visited the Transdniestria region on May 9.”
Unlike Gagauzia that has an official autonomous status within Moldova, Transdniestria, also known as the Dniester region or the Dniester Republic, is a breakaway independence-minded part of the former Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic.
The mostly Slavic-populated Transdniestria, a rather long and narrow territory mostly located along the northeast bank of the River Dniester, declared its intention to divorce from Moldova right after the latter proclaimed its independence from the former USSR in 1991.
The conflict between Moldova and Transdniestria, in the phase of freezing now, acquired dimensions of a bloody war in 1992 and 1993.
Gagauzia, which is home to about 160,000 mostly ethnically non-Moldovan people, is located in the very south of Moldova. Its population speaks a dialect of the Turkish language.
Historically, the Gagauzians are descendants of either the Oghuz Turks who converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity or the Bulgarians who underwent linguistic Turkification at a certain point in the past.
The ethnic Gagauzians have been settling in the southern districts of Moldova, or former Bessarabia, since 1812 when the region went over to the Russian Empire. In 1991, when the former Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic declared its independence, Gagauzia declared itself independent from Moldova alongside Transdniestria.
However, contrary to the situation around Transdniestria that grew over into an armed conflict with hundreds of human casualties on both sides, Moldova’s central authorities in Chisinau managed to produce an arrangement that satisfied the local minority’s demand for rights and status to big enough a degree.