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Russian Official Sees Chance To Solve Transdniester Conflict

Konstantin Kosachev

Konstantin Kosachev

STRASBOURG -- A senior Russian official says he is hopeful that a recent Russian-German joint security initiative could help solve the frozen conflict on Moldova's eastern border, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the Russian State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, was speaking in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL's Moldovan Service on the sidelines of the ongoing Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe session in Strasbourg.

Kosachev denied reports that during their meeting in Berlin earlier this month, German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev struck "a deal" to solve the long-standing Transdniester conflict. But he added that Russia's good relationship with Germany increases the chances for solving various "outstanding matters."

At their June 5 meeting, Merkel and Medvedev signed a statement proposing the creation of a new EU-Russia security forum, which would take on Transdniester as the first trouble spot on its agenda.

Echoing recent remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kosachev said the Transdniester conflict could have been solved "five or six years ago," if a Russian peace plan which had been accepted in principle by Chisinau and Transdniester had not been shelved. Kosachev blamed the European Union for the collapse of that initiative.

The 2003 draft peace plan known as the Kozak Memorandum called for the creation of a federal Moldovan state.

Transdniester broke away from Moldova in the early 1990s, sparking a short but bloody war.