LVIV, Ukraine -- Diplomats are meeting in the Ukrainian city of Lviv to discuss the frozen conflict in Moldova's Transdniester region.
Representatives from Russia, Ukraine, the United States, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as Moldova and Transdniester are meeting on February 19 in the so-called 5+2 format.
Ukraine, which holds the rotating OSCE chairmanship, has made progress on Transdniester a priority.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara made his first trip as OSCE chairman in office to Moldova in January.
Kozhara told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service that he was confident that the will exists both in Moldova and in Transdniester to move forward toward a settlement.
Transdniester leader Yevgeny Shevchuk, however, set back hopes for progress when he announced he would not attend the Lviv meeting.
Shevchuk said he would only discuss Transdniester’s status after all social, economic, and humanitarian questions are resolved.
Prospects for progress in Lviv risk being further hampered by a developing political crisis in Moldova. On February 13, Prime Minister Vlad Filat announced that his Liberal Democratic Party was withdrawing from the ruling Alliance for European Integration coalition.
Pro-Russian Transdniester declared independence from mainly Romanian-speaking Moldova in 1990 and fought a war with Moldova in 1992.
Transdniester's independence has not been recognized by any state.
Russia maintains about 1,200 troops in the separatist region, despite Moldova's repeated request that they be withdrawn.
With reporting by RFE/RL's Ukrainian and Moldova services