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Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 17:50 UK

Trans-Dniester in landmark talks

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin (right) with Trans-Dniester leader Igor Smirnov, 11 Apr 08
The leaders are dealing with a Soviet-era "frozen" conflict

Moldova's President Vladimir Voronin has met the leader of the breakaway Trans-Dniester region for the first time in seven years.

Mr Voronin and Igor Smirnov agreed on the need to restart peace talks, which broke down in 2001. They met in Bendery, which lies in Trans-Dniester.

The mainly Russian-speaking region proclaimed independence from Moldova in 1990, when both were still in the USSR.

About 700 people died in skirmishes before a ceasefire in 1992.

Russia keeps troops in the region, which is home to much of Moldova's heavy industry.

Moldova map

Trans-Dniester has never been recognised internationally.

No date has been set for peace talks, but the leaders agreed on confidence-building measures to build trust and security.

They plan to work together on some joint infrastructure projects.

An adviser to the Moldovan president, Mark Tkachuk, told the BBC that the atmosphere was positive, and that he expected more such meetings to take place.

Mr Voronin has in the past talked of resolving the conflict before he leaves office. When Moldova goes to the polls in March next year, his two terms as president will come to an end.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Moldova
05 Jan 08 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Trans-Dniester
12 Mar 08 |  Country profiles
EU targets Moldova smugglers
07 Apr 06 |  Europe
Trans-Dniester's surreal life
02 Sep 05 |  Europe

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