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Medvedev To Meet Leaders Of Moldova, Transdniester

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin
(RFE/RL) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to meet in Moscow with leaders of Moldova and its breakaway Transdniester region.

Medvedev will chair a trilateral meeting on March 18 with President Vladimir Voronin and separatist leader Igor Smirnov on ways to resolve the 17-year-old frozen conflict.

The meeting comes ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections in Moldova on April 5.

Diplomats have expressed concern that Moscow is seeking to solve the frozen conflict in Transdniester through a fast-track agreement that would bypass internationally supervised negotiations.

The EU special representative for Moldova, Kalman Mizsei, and the U.S. ambassador to the country, Asif Chaudhry, have spoken against the possible cancellation of the "five-plus-two" negotiations format, which include Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as the United States and the European Union.

Smirnov, however, has said that the trilateral meeting in Moscow would not undermine the "five-plus-two" format.