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  Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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The presidents of Russia and Moldova met Tuesday in Moscow
The presidents of Russia and Moldova met Tuesday in Moscow to discuss the resolution of a conflict with Moldova's breakaway republic of Transdnestr. "I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations in general and the most acute problem in the region, the Transdnestr [conflict] resolution," Vladimir Putin said opening the talks with his Moldovan counterpart, Vladimir Voronin. Transdnestr, which has a predominantly Russian-speaking population, proclaimed its independence from Moldova in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Armed clashes between Moldova and Transdnestr ensued. Russia retains a military presence in the breakaway region. The Moldovan leader told Putin, "There have been a lot of discussions and debates about relations between Moldova and Russia, but often the people speaking are not those who settle the problems." The presidents had not held official talks on resolving the Transdnestr conflict since fall 2003, when Moldova refused to sign the Kozak Memorandum on the issue, proposed by Russia. The memorandum proposed a united 'asymmetric' federal Moldovan state, and had an attached proposal to locate a Russian military base on Moldovan territory for the next 20 years. Moldova refused to sign the memorandum without coordination with European organizations. In 2005 Voronin said the memorandum contradicted the Moldovan Constitution, which defines Moldova as a neutral country, and forbids the presence of foreign troops on its territory.
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