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Moldova ready to resume talks on Transdniestrian settlement — deputy PM

Moldova is ready to resume talks on settling the Transdniestrian conflict in the "5+2" format (Moldova and Transdniestria - sides in the conflict; Russia, Ukraine and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - mediators; US and EU - observers), Deputy Prime Minister for reintegration George Balan said on Wednesday.

"Moldova is ready to start talks in the extended format as soon as possible. We are now taking necessary measures to establish the relations between the two banks of the Dniester. All state instritutions of the country are involved in this process," Balan said at the meeting with OSCE Special Representative for Transdniestrian settlement process Cord Meier-Klodt.

Meier-Klodt said that he plans to hold a meeting with Transdniestria's foreign minister Vitaly Ignatiev. After that, he will visit Moscow and Kiev to discuss the readiness of Chisinau and Tiraspol to start talks with participation of mediators. He noted that talks in the extended format will be resumed if the sides are ready for dialogue and if concrete decisions are made to resolve the issue.

The next meeting in the "5+2" format may be held in June, he went on. A new round of the traditional Bavarian conference on Transdniestrian settlement may also be held this year, where the sides can hold informal meetings, Meier-Klodt noted.

Talks on Transdniestrian settlement in the extended "5+2" format were suspended in 2014 when Tiraspol accused Moldovan authorities of pressure. Germany, as OSCE's current chair, tried to facilitate resumption of talks this year. However, after mediators and observers visited Moldova and Transdniestria, it was announced that the sides are not yet ready to resume negotiations. "The sides returned to accusing each other," Russian Plenipotentiary Envoy Sergey Gubarev said then noting that "neither side is fulfilling the agreements reached at last meetings."

The Transdniestrian conflict started in March 1992 when the first clashes occurred between Moldovan police and Transdniestrian militia near the city of Dubossary, which were followed by an outbreak of armed hostilities. By summer, it had developed into large-scale fighting in Bendery, where about a thousand people were killed and tens of thousands were wounded and became refugees.

The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in July of the same year and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Since then, they have been guarding peace and calm in the region, together with their Moldovan and Transdniestrian colleagues, thus allowing Chisinau and Tiraspol to conduct negotiations on the settlement of the conflict around the breakaway republic.

[Source: Itar Tass, Chisianu, 11May16]

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