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Moldova to sign EU accord on June 27

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CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — A Moldovan official says the former Soviet republic will sign an association agreement with the 28-nation European Union on June 27.

Valeriu Strelet, parliamentary chairman of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, says the accord will be signed at a special EU-Moldova summit held in Brussels. He spoke Tuesday after meeting President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who is on a visit to Chisinau.

Earlier, President Nicolae Timofti insisted his country will exercise its "sovereign right" and sign the agreement despite external political and economic pressures.

Timofti did not name Russia in Tuesday's comments but Moscow opposes Moldova seeking that deal with the EU.

In the past, Russia has taken punitive trade measures against neighboring Baltic states and Ukraine as those countries sought closer ties with the west.

On Monday, Timofti met with NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow, who offered to help non-member Moldova improve its security.

Relations between Moldova and Russia were strained again last weekend after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin's plane was briefly held at Chisinau airport.

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