First Transdniestr talks in five years due Nov 30: official

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Talks on ending Moldova's two-decade conflict with the breakaway region of Transdniestr will resume after a five-year hiatus at the end of the month, a senior mediator said Saturday.

The so-called "5+2" negotiations will resume on November 30 in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, the country's chief negotiator Giedrius Cekuolis said after a preliminary meeting in the Moldovan capital Tiraspol.

"The meeting in Vilnius is necessary, and it will take place on November 30 and December 1," Interfax quoted the Lithuanian envoy as saying.

Besides Moldova and the breakaway eastern region bordering Ukraine, the talks also include Ukraine, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia itself.

The United States and the European Union act as observers.

At a meeting in Moscow in September, Moldova and Transdniestr agreed to relaunch negotiations for a permanent settlement to their violent early post-Soviet row.

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 in 1991 and 1992 which claimed some 700 lives.

Transdniester has never achieved international recognition and remained largely lawless since, becoming a security worry for Europe because of its porous borders and heavy presence of arms.

© 2011 AFP

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