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Moldovan president urges parliament to promptly mend ties with Russia

The newly-elected parliament must form a new Cabinet of Ministers and restore ties with Russia as soon as possible, he said

CHISINAU, March 21. /TASS/. The situation, in which the government ignores contacts with Russia, cannot continue any longer. Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Thursday

The newly-elected parliament must form a new Cabinet of Ministers and restore ties with Russia as soon as possible, he told NTV-Moldova television on Thursday.

"Moldovan exports [to Russia - TASS], gas prices, migrants - all these issues are not sensitive for Russia, but are highly important for us," Dodon stressed.

He reiterated that agreements with President Vladimir Putin on duty-free supplies of Moldovan fruits will be in place only until July of this year. "Then things will be revised not to have re-exports via Moldova. Also everything will depend on the new government and its attitude to Russia. If anti-Russian statements start pouring once again, we shouldn’t expect to be met halfway," Dodon went on to say.

The president also reiterated that the price of Russian gas grew at the start of the year, and somebody "will have to go to Moscow to agree on a discount". "Government representatives must necessarily be present at these talks," he stressed. "An unprecedented situation when none of the ministers has visited Moscow since March 2017 cannot continue any longer," Dodon said.

In 2017, the government formed by the pro-European Democratic Party of Moldova advised officials against travels to Russia as well as via the Russian territory. At a meeting with the Russian ambassador, representatives from the government and parliament handed over a note which said that Moldovan officials "are stopped on the border, and questioned".

The Russian authorities, for their part, have repeatedly expressed concerns that Russian journalists and political analysts are detained in Chisinau on a regular basis, and many of them have been banned from visiting Moldova.

Russian diplomats have also been expelled from Chisinau, and former Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, co-chairman of the intergovernmental commission, was declared persona non grata.

Three parties have been elected to Moldova’s 101-seat parliament, but none of them managed to gain a 51-seat majority required for forming the government. The Socialist Party, which supports the president and the restoration of relations with Russia, has 35 seats. The pro-European Democratic Party, which controls the government, has 30, and the pro-European opposition bloc Acum (Now), 26. Seven members were elected from the Shor party. Three parliament members are independent.