Biden makes visit to Moldova

March 11, 2011 at 11:03 AM
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CHISINAU, Moldova, March 11 (UPI) -- Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat says U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden's visit is a "historic day."

Biden is the highest-ranking U.S. government official to visit Moldova and Filat said, "For the Republic of Moldova, it's a historic day," Radio Free Europe reported Friday.

Biden spent two days in Moscow before arriving in Moldova, where his efforts are intended to help resolve a so-called "frozen conflict" over Transdniester, the country's pro-Russian breakaway region.

"We believe Moldova's future lies with Europe," Biden said at a news conference in Chisinau Friday.

Filat said he had high hopes for what Biden's visit could mean to the impoverished nation.

"The visit of the vice president of the United States marks a new beginning of our bilateral relationship," Filat said. The visit offers "greater prospects for Moldova in building a true democracy."

However, political analysts said Moldovans shouldn't expect too much from Biden's visit.

"I don't think Moldova is or will ever be a priority in U.S. foreign policy since the United States is involved in two wars and must now also deal with the turmoil in Arab countries," said Vlad Spanu, who heads the Moldova Foundation, an advocacy group based in Washington.

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