70,000 Moldovans rally for European future

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Tens of thousands of Moldovans have rallied in the capital to call for closer ties with the European Union before a key summit.

Moldovans shouted "Europe!" and "For Moldova and for Europe!" and waved Moldovan and EU flags. Police said 70,000 took part in Sunday's rally, which was organized by the three parties in the pro-European governing coalition.

President Nicolae Timofti said "European integration is an opportunity for us to relaunch our economy and to improve the quality of people's lives ... It's about modernizing our country." The rally was held weeks before an EU summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where Moldova hopes to sign a partnership agreement with the EU.

Moldova, a country of 4 million, declared independence in 1991 in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union.

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