CHISINAU -- Moldovan Foreign Minister Iurie Leanca says Moscow is increasingly open to a "more intense dialogue" with Chisinau over the breakaway region of Transdniester, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.
Leanca told RFE/RL on November 21 that Moldovan officials will ask Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "legitimate questions" about Russia's relations with "a part of Moldovan territory" during Lavrov's visit to Chisinau on November 22.
Moldova has repeatedly criticized Russian officials for using the terms "Transdniestrian Republic" and "presidential campaign" in recent statements about the upcoming Transdniester elections, which Moldova regards as illegitimate.
On October 13, Moscow called on Transdniester's longtime leader, Igor Smirnov, to step down rather than run for a further term.
Smirnov is expected to meet face-to-face on November 20 with Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat in Tighina (Bender) for the second time in two months.
Leanca said that the meeting is to prepare for the resumption next week in Vilnius after a five-year hiatus of the so-called 5+2 international talks on Transdniester.
That format comprises the conflicting sides, Moldova and Transdniester; Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as mediators; and the United States and the European Union as observers.
The Transdniester region declared independence in 1990 and fought a brief war against Moldovan forces two years later. It has de facto sovereignty, but is not recognized by any country.
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