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Igor Smirnov, leader of Transdniester (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) TIRASPOL June 1, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) today said that Russia should withdraw its peacekeepers from Moldova's separatist region of Transdniester.


Karel De Gucht said an international peacekeeping mission should take over from Russian forces in Transdniester to facilitate a solution to the 16-year dispute Moldova and Transdniester.


After talks in Tiraspol with separatist leaders, De Gucht also said that Transdniester should return to negotiations mediated by the international community without imposing conditions.


De Gucht, who also called on Transdniester to respect human rights, said it would be "illogical" to set terms for talks held under the auspices of Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE, as well as the European Union and the United States.


Separatist leader Igor Smirnov later told the media that Transdniester would only return to the negotiating table if new customs regulations imposed earlier this year by Moldova, Ukraine, and the European Union are abolished.


After the talks, De Gucht headed for the Ukrainian city of Odessa, where he is scheduled to meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk.


De Gucht is then due, on June 2, to travel to Kyiv.


ARCHIVE: For an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of Transdniester, click here.

The Transdniester Conflict

Stela Jantuan, head of the Information, Analysis, and Prognosis Service of the Moldovan parliament (RFE/RL)

FROZEN CONFLICT: On January 11, 2006, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a panel discussion on prospects for settling the Transdniester conflict. The roundtable featured STEFAN GLIGOR and STELA JANTUAN of the Information, Analysis, and Prognosis Service of the Moldovan parliament and ALEXANDRU FLENCHA, head of the information and analysis division of Moldova's Ministry of Reintegration.


LISTEN

Listen to the complete panel discussion (about 90 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

TALKS CONTINUE. The conflict between the Republic of Moldova and the unrecognized, separatist Transdniester Republic has festered for more than 15 years. A decade of talks supervised by the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine have stagnated, while allegations mount concerning the involvement of Transdniester separatists in money-laundering and trafficking in arms, drugs, and human beings. What are the current prospects for settling this frozen conflict? (more)


ARCHIVE

An archive of RFE/RL's coverage of Transdniester.

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