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OSCE will not recognize the referendum announced by separatists in Tiraspol

The OSCE will not recognize the referendum on independence called for 17 September by the Supreme Soviet of the Transdniestrian region of Moldova - the Organization's Chairman-in-Office Karel De Gucht said on July 20. "We do not support and have no plans to observe a unilateral referendum which calls into question the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova" De Gucht said.

"The suggestive character of the questions intended for the referendum and the lack of basic requirements for free and fair elections, such as freedom of the media, freedom of assembly and political pluralism, in the region pre-determine the results of such an exercise", said Belgian Foreign Minister De Gucht.

According to the recent decision of the Supreme Soviet in Tiraspol, voters will be asked whether they (1) support the course of independence for the "Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic" and the subsequent free joining of Transdniestria to the Russian Federation, and (2) consider rejecting the independence of the "Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic" and subsequently becoming part of the Republic of Moldova.

"A referendum on Transdniestria's future status, on the other hand, is a possible option, but only after a political solution has been agreed at the negotiating table and only provided the necessary conditions for a free and fair vote are in place" - De Gucht said, adding: "I am deeply concerned that this referendum will further complicate the situation in the region and so I call on the Transdniestrian authorities to give up the idea and re-join the negotiation process."

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