13 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Moldova today of hampering negotiations over the disputed Transdniester region
Lavrov spoke after meeting with the current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Dimitrij Rupel. Rupel said that no settlement can be forced on either side in the dispute.
Lavrov also called "unacceptable" Moldova's recent expulsion and detention of several Russians it accused of being spies.
"The impression is that the Moldovan authorities are trying to do everything possible and impossible not only to block the Transdniester settlement -- they boycott every attempt to resume the negotiation process -- but also to damage Russian-Moldovan relations even more," Lavrov said.
Transdniester, a province in eastern Moldova near the border with Ukraine, broke away in 1992 after a short war that left 1,500 people dead. The region is not recognized internationally, but receives support from Russia, which has 1,800 military personnel there.
Moldova, backed by Western countries, is pressing Moscow to withdraw its military presence.