Leaders to work on Transnistria conflict

ATHENS, Greece, March 19 (UPI) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is welcoming an agreement to move forward on a process to settle the Transnistria conflict.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin and the leader of the Moldovan secessionist region of Transnistria, Igor Smirnov, on Wednesday to discuss moving forward with a settlement process for Transnistria, the OSCE reported.


Ambassador Charalampos Christopoulos, a special representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office, welcomed the agreement signed by Medvedev, Voronin and Smirnov that approves a plan to accelerate the negotiations within the five-plus-two format, which includes Moldova, Transnistria, Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE, with the European Union and the United States playing an observation role.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Transnistria declared independence. That led to a war with Moldova, which considers the Transnistria region its sovereign territory. Since a cease-fire in July 1992, issues over the status of the Transnistria region remain unsettled.

Officials said the agreement among Medvedev, Voronin and Smirnov calls for a possible OSCE-led peacekeeping operation.

"Should there be a request to turn the existing peacekeeping force into an OSCE peace-guaranteeing operation, the OSCE chairmanship stands ready to take such a request to the organization's 56 participating states at its Permanent Council in Vienna," Christopoulos said in a statement.


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