Transdniestr peace talks due this year: Moldova, Lithuania
Long-frozen talks over Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestr could restart later this year in Lithuania, the president of the OSCE, Moldova and Lithuania's leaders said on Thursday.
"We hope that by the end of this year we will have a round of negotiations in the formal format," Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat said during a visit to the Baltic state.
"Naturally, this round of negotiations should take place in Vilnius," Filat told journalists, adding that the exact timing was yet to be settled.
At a meeting in Moscow last month, Moldova and Transdniestr agreed to relaunch negotiations for a permanent settlement to their two-decade conflict.
The so-called "5+2" talks -- involving Moldova, Transdniestr, Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE, plus the European Union and United States as observers -- were suspended in 2006.
Only informal talks have continued since then, hampering efforts to finally resolve the conflict.
"We've seen progress during our presidency and we believe that the progress will be reaffirmed by negotiations in Lithuania," Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said Thursday.
Lithuania's 12-month term at the helm of the 56-nation Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe began in January.
Transdniestr, a predominantly Russian-speaking region, unilaterally declared independence from Moldova in 1991 as the latter split from the Soviet Union.
It then engaged in armed conflict with the mainly Romanian-speaking Moldovans between 1991 and 1992 which claimed some 700 lives.
It has never achieved international recognition.
© 2011 AFP