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US pledges ties with Moldova after Moscow-backed leader concedes

The United States has congratulated Moldova's triumphant presidential candidate Maia Sandu, seen speaking to the press in the capital Chisinau - Sergei GAPON / ©AFP
The United States has congratulated Moldova's triumphant presidential candidate Maia Sandu, seen speaking to the press in the capital Chisinau - Sergei GAPON / ©AFP

(AFP)

The United States on Tuesday pledged cooperation with Moldova’s pro-Western next president after an election seen as a setback for Russia.

David Hale, the top career diplomat at the State Department, spoke by telephone with President-elect Maia Sandu to offer congratulations.

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Hale said the United States was committed “to advancing cooperation on shared priorities including the rule of law, combatting corruption, fostering economic growth and supporting Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a State Department statement said.

Moscow has also congratulated Sandu, who has called for a balance in the tiny country’s ties between the West and Russia, but had voiced support for incumbent Igor Dodon.

Dodon conceded defeat in Sunday’s election to Sandhu, a center-right politician who briefly served as prime minister last year.

His quick concession and Washington’s congratulations come as US President Donald Trump refuses to accept defeat in the November 3 US election.

Moldova is wedged between Ukraine and NATO member Romania but Russia stations troops in the region of Transnistria, which broke away after a brief civil war following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and is not internationally recognized.

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