I. Smirnov believes that such a referendum "is needed and will be held by all means". Apart from the question of the republic's independence, the referendum is supposed to determine the nature of the republic's relations with Russia and the CIS.
Speaking of the forthcoming referendum in Cis-Dniestria, I. Smirnov referred to the example of Montenegro. He noted that it had become a norm of international life to take into account the will of the people when settling conflicts.
"We have been criticized sometimes for excessive reliance on referendums. But look at what Montenegro has been doing. It seems that the only correct choice is to ask the people: how do you propose to further develop your society - by adhering to this or that culture, to this or that economy?", said I. Smirnov.
Speaking of the course of Cis-Dniestria's development, the president of the self-proclaimed republic noted that it would continue on the road of building a democratic society based on traditional Cis-Dniestrian values.
"We reject any export or re-export of alien democracy. It is for our people to decide how we shall live", said I. Smirnov.
He emphasized that Tiraspol saw Russia as a guarantor of Cis-Dniestria's democratic setup. At the same time I. Smirnov criticized Ukraine and said that the so-called "Yushchenko's plan" for Cis-Dniestrian settlement had lost all its relevance. In his words, it happened after Ukraine had joined Moldavia's blockade of Cis-Dniestria and, having thus taken the side of one of the parties in the conflict, had surrendered the principles of objectivity and impartiality.
Concurrent with the press-conference in Tiraspol, the OSCE chairman Karel De Guht met with journalists in Kishinev to announce that the OSCE was ready to allot 10 million Euros to fund the withdrawal of Russian troops and the evacuation of Russian military hardware from Cis-Dniestria. The funds appear to have already been set aside in the OSCE budget. De Guht believes that the evacuation of Russian armaments from the region may be completed within three months' time.
De Guht stressed that, in the OSCE's opinion, Russian troops have to quit Cis-Dniestria.
"We believe that Russia has to pull its troops out of Cis-Dniestria, including the peacekeeping force. They have to be replaced by a multi-national force under international mandate, which can also monitor the Moldavian-Ukrainian border on the Cis-Dniestrian section and the armaments depots", said the OSCE head.
He called on Tiraspol and Kishinev to resume talks, saying that it was "a matter of principle to strengthen Moldavia's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity". "I am certain that during the talks a special status has to be worked out for Cis-Dniestria remaining within the framework of Moldavia", said De Guht.
The current OSCE chairman called on the Cis-Dniestrian administration "to give up its self-imposed isolation and not to resist the new regimen of cargo passage through the Moldavian-Ukrainian border".