Moldova president meets with Transnistria boss after 2-year hiatus
(dpa) - Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin met with the leader of the breakaway province Transnistria on Friday, restarting reunification talks stalled for more than two years.
Voronin was in one-on-one discussions for 90 minutes with Igor Smirnov, Transnistria's leader, in the unofficial Transnistrian capital Bendery on the Dniestr River.
Voronin and Smirnov began their discussions with "a frank exchange of positions," and agreed "conditions are good to resolve many problems," the Infotag news agency reported, citing an unnamed Voronin associate.
Russian-speaking Transnistria seceded from Romanian-speaking Moldova after a civil war ending in 1991.
Reunification talks between the two sides stopped in 2006 after Moldova banned the transit of Transnistrian goods through its territory.
The two leaders reportedly agreed to restart regular negotiations using the so-called 5 + 2 framework, in reference to the inclusion of observers from the five mediators Russia, Ukraine, the US, the EU, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The date and location for the renewed talks had not yet been decided, the Interfax news agency reported.
Smirnov reportedly promised to reconsider removing trades sanctions currently in effect against Transnistria, as part of a pre- agreement for the talks to begin, Interfax reported citing a "senior Transnistria official."
A top priority for a Moldova-Transnistria diplomatic working group is a technical agreement on the terms of self-rule under which Transnistria would return to Moldovan control, according to the report.
Moldova's Transnistria is one of the poorest places on the continent and, according to Interpol, a centre for smuggling and other transnational crime.