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News 15 May 15

Moldova Expels Advocate of Union With Romania

Moldova has banned a Romanian citizen who champions the cause of reunification with Romania - of which Moldova was once a part.

Marian Chiriac

Romania said it was seeking details about Moldova’s unexpected decision to expel Romanian national George Simion and ban him from the country for five years.

Simion, who was detained and expelled on Wednesday, heads Actiunea 2012 group, a movement that advocates the unification of Moldova with Romania.

"The authorities in Moldova most likely did not agree with the protest we are planning to hold in [the capital] Chisinau on May 16,” Simion said in a statement.

The rally, organized by the platform Simion leads, together with the "Youths of Moldova" movement, is expected to again demand reunification between Moldova with Romania.

Moldova’s Interior Ministry on Thursday said that Simion was being banned for "activities that could endanger national security”.

Simion was previously banned from entering Moldova in November 2014, however, the ban was lifted only hours afterwards.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940, when it was annexed by the Soviet Union. It became an independent state in 1991.

The two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background and enjoy close relations. However, there is not much support in Moldova for becoming part of Romania once again. Polls show that only 10 to 20 per cent of Moldovans support reunification.

The former Communist president, Vladimir Voronin, once accused Romania of trying to take over his country.

In 2007, Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country, claiming Bucharest would use them to woo Moldovan citizens with citizenship offers. In 2009, Moldova presented the Romanian ambassador with a document calling on Bucharest to refrain from making "provocative statements" about Moldova's statehood, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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