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Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has pulled out of a meeting scheduled
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has pulled out of a meeting scheduled for Wednesday with the leader of the breakaway republic of Transdnestr, Igor Smirnov, Moldova's Reintegration Ministry said.

The leaders of Russia, Moldova and Transdnestr agreed last Wednesday to continue talks on the issue of the disputed Transdnestr region at a meeting in Moscow. The leaders confirmed the importance of the five-plus-two format, comprising Russia, Ukraine, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the United States and the EU, and Moldova and Transdnestr.

However, the Moldovan ministry said Transdnestr has not allowed U.S. and EU negotiators to enter its territory, thereby violating the format of the dialogue.

"The entry ban for U.S. and EU intermediaries shows that Transdnestr is not ready to observe its obligations and continue the prospective dialogue," the ministry said in a statement.

"We hope that Transdnestr will do everything possible to ensure that the spirit of constructive dialogue, transparency and cooperation prevails, and the entry ban imposed on the participants of negotiations be lifted," it said.

"Only this approach would ensure the productive continuation of the talks," the statement concluded.

Transdnestr has had de facto independence from Moldova since a brief war in 1992, which was the culmination of tensions that had built since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia has had peacekeepers in the region since July 1992, and the negotiation process has been frozen since February 2006.

Hopes that talks would finally resume were given a boost after a meeting between the presidents of Transdnestr and Moldova in the Transdnestr city of Bendery in April last year. However, another round of talks, scheduled for September 2008, was called off after the parties failed to agree on a venue.


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