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Moldova Hopeful Of Russia-Ukraine Commitment On Transdniester

CHISINAU -- Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat says he is hopeful Russia and Ukraine will reaffirm their intention to resolve the Transdniester conflict at their Kyiv summit, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Filat told RFE/RL he is unaware of the content of the forthcoming Russian-Ukrainian statement on the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniester but expects it to "further the current commitments of all parties involved in solving the conflict."

A Ukrainian Foreign Ministry statement stated last week that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will issue a joint statement on Transdniester with new Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during his two-day visit to Kyiv, which began on May 17.

Russian media reports have stated that Medvedev and Yanukovych are expected to agree to relax trade restrictions against the Transdniester region as part of a deal to induce the separatist government in Tiraspol to return to the negotiating table.

The Moldovan government has dismissed the reports as "pure speculation."

Filat also told RFE/RL he is hopeful the European Union will be more involved in trying to resolve the Transdniester conflict. He recalled the reassurances he received during a visit last week in Berlin from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said she will personally talk to Russia's leadership about Transdniester.

"Angela Merkel has already kept her promise and helped us [after that statement]," he said, without elaborating.

The Transdniester region, which is made up mainly of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, has had de facto independence from Moldova since the end of a brief war between separatist and Moldovan forces in 1992.