Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 1

Moldovan president-elect Petru Lucinschi chose Romania for his first post-election visit on December 30. Lucinschi conferred with Romania’s new president, Emil Constantinescu, who lead a democratic, right-of-center coalition to victory over the ruling neo-Communists in Romania’s November parliamentary and presidential elections. The two presidents agreed to depoliticize bilateral relations, to emphasize economic cooperation, and to give up "past-oriented" and "emotional declarations." Lucinschi stated during the visit that Moldova and Romania, while sharing a common language, will develop as two individual countries within the framework of a uniting Europe. (Moldovan and Romanian agencies, December 30-31)

Romanian media and political circles on the whole reacted to Lucinschi’s victory in Moldova with dismay, correctly perceiving it as another setback for Romanian irredentism. But Constantinescu, unlike some elements in his own coalition, has clearly distanced himself from such sentiments. The Romanian president has argued that renunciation of territorial designs on Moldova and Ukraine is a prerequisite to Romania’s eventual acceptance in the European Union and NATO. In recent years, Bucharest’s reluctance to accept Moldovan statehood as permanent had generated adverse reactions in Moldova. Lucinschi, a consummate diplomat, and Constantinescu are likely to jointly promote a détente based on Bucharest’s final acceptance of Moldovan statehood.

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