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EU Urges Moldova to Resume Normal Ties with Romania

The European Union is urging Moldova to resume normal relations with neighboring Romania, which Moldovan leaders have accused of stirring up post-election violence.

A statement by the foreign ministers of France, the Czech Republic and Sweden said the 27-member bloc remains ready to work with Moldova in accordance with European values and principles. It stressed the need to maintain good ties with all its neighbors and urged that country to respect all constitutional freedoms.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed the latest civil unrest in Moldova on foreign interference and urged the European Union and Romania to protect that country's sovereignty.

He spoke after rioters ransacked Moldova's parliament building and took over presidential offices to protest what they say was a rigged parliamentary election on Sunday.

Romania has denied any involvement in the unrest.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin Wednesday ordered the Romanian ambassador expelled from the country and recalled Moldova's envoy from Bucharest.

The government has also cracked down on Romanian journalists covering the events, expelling three and denying visas to others.

Official results give the ruling Communists 60 seats and opposition parties 41.

But election officials say the Communists are one seat short of being able to ensure their candidate is elected the next president.

Moldova's outgoing President Voronin leaves office this month after two terms. The new parliament is to vote on his successor.

Students say they see no future if communists keep power in the country of four million, which is wedged between Ukraine and Romania and is one of Europe's poorest.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.